On Friday, I had the pleasure of spending some time with children’s and preschool ministry leaders at the Children’s Ministry Summit at Dallas Baptist University. There, Clarissa Willis emphasized the importance of including everyone — including people with special needs — in a congregation’s education and discipleship efforts. Created by God, individuals with special needs can grow in their knowledge and relationship with Christ and can share that with others.
Willis shared this story:
A second grade teacher was instructing her class when she noticed one of her students had meandered to the corner of the room and was staring at a lamp there. Second graders being second graders, she didn’t think much about it. She simply ushered the student back to his desk.
But she noticed it happened the next day too. And the next day. And the day after that. It happened any time the student felt uneasy or uncomfortable. Before too long, the teacher realized the student wasn’t simply staring at the lamp, he was talking to it quietly as well.
Finally, the teacher squatted next to the student one day and asked him why he was talking to the lamp. The young man who had special needs turned to her and said this:
“Every Sunday, my parents take me to church. I learned that God loves me. He is the light in the world. So when I don’t know what to do or am scared or feel icky, I go talk to Him.”
In his own way, through his own understanding, the student grasped something so many people struggle to understand and struggle even more to accept — God loves us, all of us. More than that, he was able to share about God’s love with his teacher.
Maybe today each lamp that you walk by will be a remind you that God is the light of the world. He loves each of us. And wants that love to be shared.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12