What did Jesus have to say about the Church and Disability Ministry (Part 4)

 

Looking back to Luke 14. The party host then says, “Go out to the roads and country and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.”

You can sense the urgency in the voice of the host. He desperately wants to celebrate with as many people as possible.

Now we all know that in this parable the host is God and the invitation to the party is an invitation to belong in the Kingdom. And this 3rd time we see Jesus telling the Church that they had it all wrong.

The curious twist that Jesus puts on this parable is once again a counter-cultural message. He makes it clear that those who belong in the Kingdom of God are the same people that were made to feel like they did NOT belong by the Church of his day. These were the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame. These were the marginalized people of his day. These are often the marginalized people of our day too.

Jesus was clearly commanding the Church Leadership to “Go out quickly” and bring in the poor and the disabled. Jesus was telling the church to do this quickly, because people shouldn’t have to wait till they get to heaven to belong.

God is not telling churches to form a committee to explore whether or not the church should offer a Disability Ministry. God is not telling churches to have their finance department to look into whether or not a Disability Ministry would fit into the budget. God is telling churches get off your butt, quit talking about it, just go and do it! He says “go out quickly!” There are some things that are really simple in Scriptures and this one of them. You don’t have to think about it God simply wants you to go and do it. Because this isn’t something you have to think about it and because this is at the very heart of God if you “go out quickly” God will bless you efforts. God will make a way.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus hasn’t returned yet? In my heart I truly believe one of the reasons Jesus hasn’t returned yet is because he has been waiting 2,000 years answer his command in Luke 14 to “go out quickly” and make his house full and complete. I’ve got a feeling like Jesus might say to the church, “What took you so long? My message and instructions were clear.”

I’m wondering however about what God is saying to you personally right now? You see you cannot just sit back and say well since the church has taken care of this corporately I don’t have to worry about it personally. Wrong. What is God calling you to do personally?

Maybe Jesus’ example of physically embracing the man with the physical disability is challenging you. Maybe it’s challenging you to step out of your comfort zone and get to know someone with a disability or someone who has been marginalized by society. It’s often not easy. Because sometimes a person’s disability reminds us of our own brokenness. You see we all have abilities and disabilities. Our brokenness should not be feared or cause shame. One thing I think we often overlook is the fact that the resurrected Jesus in his heavenly body was not without scars. He came back to life and didn’t have a perfect body. He still had holes in his hands, his side, and feet. God purposefully allowed his scars to remain. This may have made people who saw him post resurrection to be uncomfortable with his appearance. But if you step out of your comfort zone and embrace someone who society has marginalized you will find that you have more in common, than you don’t. You will be blessed. God is waiting for you to follow his example.

Or maybe you are someone who society has marginalized. Maybe you have a disability and you are wondering about where you belong in the Kingdom. I want to say that I am glad you are here. I want you to know that you belong not only here at First Christian but more importantly you belong to God. It doesn’t matter if you can walk, or talk, or read, or write, or you fill in the blank. The only thing that matters is that you belong to God! And if you belong to God that means that God has uniquely gifted you. You have value. You have a purpose. God has given you a job that only you can do in his Kingdom.