Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Naturally Enhancing The Body's Performance?

A number of months ago I was struggling with how I best enhance the ministry of the church. 1 Corinthians 12 talks about the church being like a human body. The human body has many parts to it. Each has a primary responsibility or task that is uniquely separate from every other individual part. Yet they serve an overarching purpose and without that individual function, the body’s entire function/purpose would be in jeopardy. The apostle Paul relates this to the ministry of the church.

He says there are certain things needed in the church in order for it to function properly. Such things include apostles, teachers, leaders, helpers and the list goes on. I personally believe everyone can be used for ministry. Part of the Christian life is figuring out where you fit in the Body of Christ. How your gifts, talents, and abilities enhance the ministry of the church and enlarge the Kingdom of God.

During this time I invited a pastor friend over for a coffee visit. One of the things he suggested was that my mission is to serve those of the disability/special needs community. This was a natural place of ministry for me. I had an “in” that he didn’t. I am a special needs individual. I am one of them. This gives me a voice that others don’t have. As an able bodied person, whenever he talks to someone that uses a wheelchair, crutches, a walker, etc, etc, it just goes in one ear and out the other. The pastor furthered his point by saying this is because an able bodied person doesn’t understand what it’s like to live with disability.

I wonder if this attitude is reflected in the psalms. For example, check out psalm 73:

Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Psalm 73:1-6 NIV

I also wonder if that’s what Paul meant when he wrote:

Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 NLT

What about you? What do you think about this?


  1. Tim I actually have to give Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost a lot of credit for the way they articulated and expanded my thoughts to the Jewish perspectives and nuances within the 1 Cor. 12 passage as they wrote in 'The Shaping of Things to Come'. In short the Greek language used is meant to say not that we are only gifted with the one gift (i.e. prophesy, teaching, ect.) but rather we each share in all the gifts equally. That said, in any given moment, context, or situation; we may find that certain gifts become primary in our role as part of the body of Christ.

    That said, I do believe you and I both find certain contexts where we can speak God's truth into those who face great physical challenges and adversities in life. That does not, I'll repeat DOES NOT, dismiss the calling or gifting for ALL others considered not "disabled" to be able to do the same nor diminish the impact they can or could have on those who find themselves with such challenges. For example: it was the paralyzed man’s friends faith which inspired Jesus (Luke 5:19-20)

    Why? Much like Paul articulates in the passage you left above, we ALL can find moments of great adversity in our lives which in some way or another can seem debilitating to ourselves. These are moments which in an odd way bless us and gift us with relational connections to others facing adversities in their lives. There is no such thing as these adversities being greater or worse then someone else’s.

    Please remember, as you know I do not believe in the word "disabled"; particularly as a classification of people. We are all chosen equally and especially by God to grow, play, and build in the Kingdom of God and that means you too! Your mission may be "Encouraging People with Disabilities" but please, please know; you are extraordinarily and especially gifted to take that gift to all people of all kinds and to the ends of the earth!

    Many Blessings Friend!

  2. Thank you Erik my friend! I agree, I do take that gift to all people everywhere. That’s part of the joy I have in creating a video advocating for disability. I get to relive the ways in which God has already used me to do just that. Be a strength to and for others; advancing His Kingdom in subtle yet powerful ways. Musician Christy Nockels wrote a song called “Life Light Up” it best depicts everything I have and owe to the adventure that IS my life.

    On a side note, I use the word disability because in the fast paced world of political correctness, I’ve lost track of the most appropriate tern for someone who has a “disability.”