The music started, and I slid a little lower in my seat.
I have an adult son with cognitive disabilities. After sitting on the last row of the church his entire life, Ben decided to sit front and center and to imitate the drummer. Instead of taking joy in his exuberant worship, I cringed. He’s distracting everyone, I thought. I was ashamed of his joyful expressions of praise as I stewed about what other people might think.
After the worship set ended and Ben settled in for a public nap, I sat in my embarrassment, formulating an apology for the pastor. But as we rose to leave, people approached us. Some were in tears. Ben’s enthusiasm in worship had blessed them, adding to their own worship. Watching him cast off his inhibitions in the presence of the Lord had touched them deeply.
Ben can’t teach, preach, or do much of anything we might deem useful in the church, but he is indeed indispensable by being himself. His quirky, embarrassing self. His beautiful, uninhibited self.
Sometimes we feel dispensable or weak. Like we have nothing to offer the family of God because we aren’t gifted in certain ways. We might even look at the needy or annoying people as bothersome instead of seeing they possess the unfathomable dignity of a child of God.
The Scriptures don’t ask us to merely tolerate the weak. They are indispensable—a vital and necessary part of the functioning of the body of Christ. We should welcome the sinning, the foolish, and the disabled to the table of fellowship. Even save them a spot front and center. Or better yet, a spot with us.
Think about those people in your church who have disabilities, addictions, or difficult personalities. What is one thing you can do to include them in the life of the church?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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Andrea Sanborn is currently embracing life in northern Minnesota after living her entire life in California. Her interests include transracial adoption, special needs parenting, and hosting international students, but her overriding passion is to encourage others toward a deeper walk with Jesus. She blogs at andreasanborn.com.