What One Teenager Can Do

by Dick Blackford

The article below was written about 17-year-old Tim Wadlington. Tim died of cancer on Sept. 8, 1989, and I attended his funeral on the 12th at Eddysville, Kentucky. The church at Suwanne, where Tim worshipped, has a bulletin that is published solely by the teenagers, called The River of Life.

I knew Tim from summer camp and he had preached for me in Owensboro on one occasion. I had known the Wadlington family for over 20 years. During the past three months, the Suwanee congregation has had 12 baptisms — people with whom Tim had studied. Satan gained nothing by Tim’s death. Four of those obeyed the gospel the night before the funeral while Tim’s body was at the funeral home. His influence was also felt in the Bartlett, Tennessee church where 10 baptisms occurred recently. The Wadlington family worshipped there while Tim was receiving treatment at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. He also left a list of people he had talked to or was planning to contact.

Tim was a bright boy. He was an honor graduate, Beta Club president, and a member of Who’s Who Among American High School Students. His plans to attend Florida College that fall were prevented by cancer. But his first love was the Lord, and he was a great example for young and old. He did more in 17 years than many of us do in 70. “And he being dead, yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:14).

Tim will be missed by his loved ones and in the ranks of gospel preachers. As I reflect on lessons learned from Tim, I think of the following:

  • A teenager can be a faithful, active Christian in his world of sin and corruption. He did not use his youth as an excuse.
  • It is not how long you live but what you do with your life that matters.
  • Instead of giving in to peer pressure, sometimes we have to go against the flow. And we can, both young and old.
  • Instead of withdrawing from society and feeling sorry for himself, he placed greater value on others.
  • In a sense, we are all terminal, and we need to realize the urgency of preaching the gospel now.

Visitors to the Kentucky Lake-Berkley Lake area would benefit by worshipping with the small congregation at Suwanee.

In the meantime, what about your prospect list?

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