“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40 NIV)
These words have always brought tension to my heart. Jesus described a future day of judgment. Caring for people provides evidence of a genuine faith commitment to Jesus. Likewise, our failure to care for others may reveal the absence of relationship with Jesus.
The tension I feel is not related to an impending judgment or to my failure to care for others, but to designating another human being as “the least.”
My experience with people identified as “special needs” makes it difficult to categorize any of them as “the least.” I have witnessed more…
- genuine love
- unconditional acceptance
- steadfast commitment
…from “special needs” people than I see in myself. They are indeed, “special people,” but I recoil from viewing any of them as something less than the rest of us. Yet as Jesus’ words resonate in my heart I realize that these very people are among those our Lord likely includes in the classification.
Most do not struggle with a single limitation, but live their lives with multiple challenges. They may deal with autism, Downs Syndrome, severe epilepsy, or any of dozens of other issues. Still, they rise to overcome their disabilities daily. They are incredible people.
This Friday night we will host A Night to Shine. Alsbury is one of two hundred churches selected by the Tim Tebow Foundation to host this prom-like event to provide “special needs” adults with a night they will long remember.
Each of you serving this Friday evening have stepped up in unprecedented fashion, agreeing to help in any way needed. Many of you have committed hours each day for weeks on end to make this event possible. You have asked for and expect nothing in return. I am moved by your willingness to serve others who may be unable to respond with the words, “Thank you.”
Trust me when I say that your involvement pleases our Lord Jesus. He notices and he is proud of you. He is delighted that you have invested your time and energy in these, the King’s “brothers and sisters.”
I look forward to seeing you this Friday evening. Who knows, I may even bust out one of my signature Soul Train dance moves!