Sunday, February 27, 2011

#10 – The Best Thing that Happens (I Get it Now!)

We who are followers of Jesus make it our highest aim to please Him in all we do.
Therefore, we pay close attention to the things He told us
about what brings joy to Him.

We've all heard that Jesus said,
“Whatever you’ve done for the least of these, you’ve done for Me.”
And we know that by “least of these”,
He was referring to people who are sick, hungry, poor and in prison
-- people on the fringes of society.

So, bottom-line, those of us who truly want to please Jesus
must make it a priority to care for people
who are weak,
or poor,
or have illnesses
or disabilities.
For He told us that when we do,
we welcome Him... and we give Him joy.

On the surface,
this principle is much easier to understand than many other things Jesus said.
"Do this... and you can automatically check this off your list as well."
Seems simple.

But I confess that, despite the apparent simplicity,
I never really "got" this
until my youngest niece,
The Princess,
was diagnosed with cerebral palsy,
and I saw, with brand new eyes, the public's reaction to people with disabilities.

It goes without saying...
The Princess occupies a rather prominent place in my heart.
I love her so much that
she's impacted my heart,my work, my relationships, my goals, my life
more deeply than any other single individual
... and that's saying a great deal.

when someone makes disparaging remarks
about people with intellectual or physical disabilities,
it feels like they're making demeaning comments about The Princess herself.

They'd never dare to demean my niece in my presence,
but their actions and attitudes toward others with disabilities
tell me exactly how they'd respond to the little girl I love so much.

And when they display harsh or dismissive attitudes toward the little girl I love
...they might as well express the same kind of attitude toward me.

At the same time,
my heart is naturally drawn to those who value people with disabilities.
If people love others with severe disabilities,
they'd also love and accept The Princess
... and that also feels like they'd love and accept me.

It all feels very personal.

So I get it now when Jesus says,
"Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me."

He loves each of us intensely,
with an everlasting love.
And He has an especially soft heart for those whose lives are hard,
who live on society's edge.

In fact, Jesus loves them so much that,
when we accept or reject them,
He takes it personally.
Whatever we do for the "least of these",
we do for Him.
Despite my slowness to grasp it,
it really is that simple.

So... let's welcome them.
Let's accept them.
Let's love them.

For when we do,
we welcome,
and love Him.
And we give Him joy!

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