18-- At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
It has been frequently said that it takes “special” people to work with individuals who have special needs. Although I agree that we each have different skill-sets that wire us to be experts with different talents and gifts, I will have to strongly disagree with the above statement. The apostle Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 9:22, “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all means I might save some.” Paul was fully aware that all people have “special” needs. Therefore, it was necessary that he develop his skill-set with the assistance of The Holy Spirit and be all things to all people. Does that mean that we are to be a phony? Absolutely not! We are commanded by Jesus to fulfill the Great Commission. It would be impossible to be obedient to Christ and exclude anyone from the list of those we are to disciple. We are not acting “fake” by working on our knowledge and understanding of a people group with which we are unfamiliar. Relationships with all people take time. Understanding individuals with unique gifts and challenges also take time. I propose to you and me that the real ones with the “special needs” are us! Our need is to acquire the skills, plus supports, to minister to a different population of individuals that we may not be familiar with. Is it easy to minister to a unique people group? I answer that question with a statement that Jesus never said that discipleship was easy. He requires us to step outside of our comfort zone or figurative boat and allow Him to guide us on an incredible journey to be “fishers of men!” The Great Commission mentions that we reach out to everyone. There is no special exemption for those that may be unfamiliar to us.
I am encouraging each of us to pray for an open heart and an open mind to the new experience and opportunities to use us for His Kingdom! And whoever welcomes such an opportunity in His Name, welcomes Him!