“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?…Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” –Matthew 6:26, 28-30
Sin has distorted our definition and understanding of many words. A few of these words include worth and value. The world teaches that worth and value come from “ability” and “usefulness” in society.
We often associate ability and usefulness with actions, how one is able to be useful and productive for oneself and other people. This definition for ability is much too narrow and can seem subjective. We should not compare one’s ability to another’s because that leads to discouragement. While we should always strive to do our best in order to glorify God, if we are unable to do something as well as someone else, that does not mean we are lesser than they are.
Someone in a wheelchair can dance with their eyes; someone who is nonverbal can speak volumes through their facial expressions; someone who cannot do math can still solve problems; someone who cannot use their hands can still create art. Saying someone can’t do something because they do it differently than you is comparable to saying someone can’t speak because their voice isn’t exactly the same as yours.
Ask the Lord to help you understand words as they were originally meant to be known. You have an opportunity before you to creatively find new meanings in certain words. We are all made uniquely, so when you encounter someone with a disability, try to step outside of the barriers certain words may have.
Have a creative mind when you encounter someone with a disability. Do not concentrate on what they cannot do, rather ask God to show you the creative ways they can do the very same things you are able to. Different means unique! Just because someone is different than you does not mean they are any more or any less than you. Do not let ability define your worth and value and do not let ability define your worth and value of others.
Matthew 6 tells us that God values His people far beyond the birds and lilies that He cares for. Remember that everyone, those with or without a disability, are made in the image of God and He finds His creation priceless! Ask God to align your definitions of words like ability, usefulness, worth, and value with His definitions of the words.
Remember, you are valuable because you are a child of God, created in His image. He loves you enough to have sent His Son to die for your sins! Let this love encourage you to value others around you!
“Therefore, my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices.” –Psalm 16:9
Emmalyne Kwasny is a senior at Mississippi State University and serves as editor-in-chief of the university’s student-led newspaper, The Reflector. Emmalyne volunteers with Joni and Friends Mississippi and is currently interning with Joni and Friends Cause 4 Life.