When was the Last Time You Helped a Neighbor, a Friend, a Stranger?

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal. 6:2

For almost 30 years our ministry has had the privilege of providing a unique outreach event to disabled youth: Special Kids Day (SKD). These are always extraordinary times for the participants, the staff, and the helpful volunteers. It is a time of serving and assisting those who have special needs. Most of the kids have additional issues to cope with beyond their physical disabilities. Many are from single-parent homes, and most desperately desire attention and affection. As the young people experience our program and the loving people who assist them, they become very excited and joyful. Throughout the morning, the love of God is demonstrated in some very tangible ways. I always look forward to these events and have a special fondness for children with disabilities.

It’s not surprising that I was especially touched when hearing a story several years ago from the Seattle Special Olympics. Nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash but with a relish to run the race to the finish…and win! All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to weep.

The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Amazingly, they all turned around and went back—every one of them! One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him on the forehead, saying, “This will make it better.” Then, all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes.

People who were there still tell the story today. Why? I think it’s because deep down inside, they knew: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves; what matters in this life is helping others to win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course; what matters in this life are the lives around us.

The Apostle Paul reminds us, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Phil. 2:4. That is a good reminder from God who wants us to have a serious, caring involvement in some of the goals that concern others. One way that can happen is to take our eyes off our often-excessive concerns for ourselves, our own self-esteem, our own goals and comforts, and think about how we can effectively love, serve, and encourage others.

I’m so glad we rarely have difficulty getting enough volunteers to help with the SKD programs. I’m so thankful for folks who look to the interests of others, who truly understand the importance of the lives around us. Aren’t you?

The Power of Truth:
“He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.” Prov. 19:17

“Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Heb. 13:3

Suggestion for Prayer:
If you’ve been caught up in your own agenda, confess it to the Lord and ask Him to show you someone who needs your help, your love, and your encouragement.