Jesus spoke to his disciples in parables so that the wisdom of the Lord was easier for them to understand. I work hard to remember this when speaking to those who have not yet heard the truth. However, I sometimes find that my passion for Christ and His kingdom overwhelm my words and in my excitement, the message is lost. While it is true that a person willing to listen to the Gospel may come to a miraculous realization they can be made new, there is also merit in taking the time to teach in a way that a person can understand.
I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine last night and I had an epiphany. We are all disabled in some way. Some people are born with physical or mental disability and some develop disability later in life from unforeseen circumstances. There is trouble in singling out these folks because I am here to tell you that you and I are disabled too. We are disabled by our thoughts, opinions, life experiences, and lack of education (both formal and common sense).
Have you ever looked at someone with a developmental disability with avoidance or pity because you just do not know what to say or how to act? Have you found yourself to be paralyzed by fear of not knowing what to do? I challenge that thought process because chances are, someone has looked at you that way too. Think of all the embarrassing moments in your life where there were witnesses. Those people looked at you with the same eyes.
The point I am trying to make is that disability is a title and it does not define anyone. It merely defines a lifestyle parameter. I had the pleasure this summer of working with a great group of children and adults that taught me about how I have stunted my own spiritual growth by doing my best to be the very definition of normal. These people were talented, brave, and spiritually strong. These are all qualities that I long for in my life. They did not let their difference in appearance or mental acuity stop them from living out their dreams. They were courageous in ways I have never been. In my quest to be considered ‘normal’, I realized that I have been serving two masters.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.” When you and I spend our precious time seeking the approval of others, we are choosing man over God. Paul also tells us in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
I am not normal and my worldly thoughts are disabling in my call to be a disciple of Christ. Therefore, I need to remember that as a follower of Christ, I have been transformed. I am going to stand out and if you have accepted Christ into your heart, you will stand out too. I am here to tell you that is okay. Take time to lean on the Lord through prayer and supplication when you feel like worldly things are taking precedent in your life. If you listen, God will answer and provide you with a path (not always an easy one) to do things in a manner that puts him first.
My question to you is this: What are you putting first? When you reflect on your priorities, you will be able to see the path more clearly and where it is leading you. If you are putting your career before God, has it yielded good fruit? If you put you political opinions above God, is it changing any of the current turmoil in the nation? If you elevate yourself because you work hard to be ‘normal’ are you missing out on your ability to be extraordinary in God’s eyes the way he designed you? These are tough questions, but I encourage you today to explore what you are serving; your thoughts, your actions, your deeds, or God.