God created each one of us uniquely. We have different personalities and talents, strengths and abilities. It is amazing to think about how our passions and perspectives reflect the creativity of God. Psalm 139:14 (NLT) reveals David’s understanding of this truth as he declares “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”
One of the most frustrating and heartbreaking realities occurs when we fail to see people in this way. Unfortunately, sin and the brokenness of our world can cause us to look down on or criticize the differences we see in each other. Rather than seeing how we are similar, we focus on how we are different. We see race, age, or disability as a hindrance to acceptance, rather than as a unique marker that helps define who we are.
By the grace of God, we are slowly seeing the Church embrace the differences and unique qualities of individuals affected by disability. Acceptance, inclusion, and embracing others who are different are becoming more of the norm as the doors of local churches are becoming more open and more accessible. People affected by disability are afforded access to places of service, opportunities for leadership, and anything else that God has preordained for them.
Recently, we came across a story that reflects the heart and purpose of Irresistible Church. Gerber chose their 2018 “spokesbaby”—Lucas Warren from Dalton, Georgia. Lucas is the first baby with Down syndrome to receive this honor. Bill Partyka, CEO and president of Gerber, says “every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby…this year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
Did you catch that? Every baby is a Gerber baby…in the same way that every baby is created in the image of God. Every baby has purpose and destiny. Let us continue to recognize that disability is not a hindrance, it is not a reason to exclude people, but a unique component of an individual that should be warmly embraced. Lucas’ mom, Cortney, might say this best as “she hopes her son will be seen not only as a baby with Down syndrome, but also as a funny, energetic child who loves music and socializing.”
If Gerber can get it right, let’s continue to pray that the local church can too. Let’s continue to open the doors of our churches and open our hearts so that everybody has the opportunity to know God, to be known by God, and to walk in the purpose he has for their lives.
To learn more about Lucas winning the Gerber Baby competition and to see original quotes from this blog, please click here.