Farewell, Tattersall (a eulogy)

These words were delivered at the Thanksgiving / Celebration service after the internment of my friend and another Jewish believer. Maybe the comfort intended will matter to you as well.

Given by Bob Mendelsohn
Saturday 18 August 2018

Tattersall Le’Aupepe (on the left) is not with us tonight. But we are all here tonight because of him. We are either related to him or have had a relationship with one of his relatives or with him particularly. And the testimony I’ve heard and will continue to hear, and will say myself, is that because of Tatts, we are better. Our lives are better. Our joy is fuller. Our love increased. 

He had a way of making us think of better things. He had a way of filling our lives with higher thoughts. When we would meet up, or talk on the phone, when we saw each other in person, whenever I intersected with Tatts, my life improved. I was better off for that intersection. 

Why was that? What did he know? How did he get that way? 

My mind flashes on two fishing boats near the Sea of Galilee. These small fishing vessels were manned by some famous characters. Peter and John were among those fellows. 

The Gospels record, 
“And as He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. 
And going on a little further, He saw James the sonof Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets.” (Mark 1.16, 19)
"And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink.” (Luke 5.3-7)

It’s that ‘signaling’ to the colleagues that struck me the other day. Simon Peter, in the first boat, is all set to tell his new Bible teacher how to conduct the fishing expedition. We read that the folks in the other boat included John. What had they been doing? Washing and mending, that is, preparing their nets. They were background folks; not front-runners. They were taking care of business behind-the-scenes. For the day and the time when they were needed. 

And when that day came, and Yeshua needed them, and Simon needed them, James and John were right there, and their nets were there, readied and able to assist. 

That’s what I think of, when I think of Tatts. He loved to sing. He loved to garden. He loved to tell me about his kids. And their multiple adventures around the world. He was proud of them, and they were proud to be called his children. He was a net-mender; he was a behind-the-scenes man who didn’t mind coming forward when required. His humility gave him the pleasure of seeing others get notoriety. He was ready to be called on, to serve when required or asked. 

What motivated him? The love and servant ministry of his Messiah, Yeshua. Plain and simple, it was the Original Net-mender and Saviour of the world. Jesus. Tatts learned well in his youth, in his life overseas, and here as well, how to be a messianic man. Being Jewish was important to him. Being messianic was more important to him. Being a man who made God smile was most important.

Tattersall Le’Aupepe is not here tonight. He’s in the presence of the Messiah enjoying time with the saints triumphant. If Tatts were here with us, he would want you to know the Messiah yourself. He would ask if you had met Him-- if you knew the Lord. 

And maybe that’s the greatest testimony I can share with you. Yeshua said, “Let your light shine in such a way that men will see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven.” Tatts would not want you, or me, to glorify him tonight. He would want us to glorify the Father in heaven. How do I know that? His light shown. 

Our words are our lights, and his light said that no matter the good things he did, no matter the praiseworthy activities in which he was found, the praise belonged to Jesus. 

No matter who you are, a teacher, a fisher, a mender… let’s do what we should, those ‘good works’ of ours, and also let our light shine in such a way that when people see our good works, they don’t glorify us, but they glorify the Father in heaven. Let your words match your works. Let your works match your words. Like Tatts, practice what you preach. And God will be well pleased. 

Farewell, Tattersall. 
Farewell, mate.
Thanks for being faithful to the end. 


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