Sunday, May 21, 2017

Reluctant Servant

"I'd really like you to bring the kids to the Challenger baseball game," my husband said. He was volunteering for Sertoma to help push a man with disabilities through the bases in his wheelchair. He is constantly finding opportunities to serve. It's one of the things that made me fall in love with him but it can also get overwhelming at times.

I looked at him, trying to find a nice way to say, "Are you kidding me? Have you seen our schedule for the weekend? Did you notice that the house is a disaster and this is my only day to get ready for the week?" Instead, I chose a more diplomatic track. "Let's play it by ear."

I saw the look of disappointment cross his face and felt the guilt creeping into my heart.  He tried one more time. "It's just that I'd love for the kids to see these people with special needs playing baseball. It think it would really make an impact on them, you know?" 

Great. Just great. How could I argue with that? "Okay, you're right. We'll go."

Time got away from me and I as I scrubbed the bathroom sink I heard my husband saying it was time to go. I had him go in a separate car while I scrambled to get the kids ready and out the door. As we drove, I worried that the kids would say something that would be hurtful. They had never been exposed to a large group of people with disabilities. "Hey guys? Just a heads up that the people playing might look different or talk differently than you do. Some may be in wheelchairs or use something to help them walk. But God designed each of them perfectly. Please make sure you don't point out how they are different. I'm sure that would hurt your feelings if someone did that to you."

"I think it's so cool that they can play baseball in a wheelchair. That would be so fun!" my five year old said. 

With that one comment, my perspective began to shift. I prayed that God help my children and me to see the players' abilities, not disabilities. I prayed that I be shown their gifts, their light, their joy. And he truly did.

I have never in my life seen so much enthusiasm in a game. They played with heart and dedication. They celebrated each other's victories and gave encouragement when there was a swing and a miss. One little boy smiled bigger than I've ever seen a child smile as he was pushed around the bases. "He just loves to run," his mom confided in me. My five year old loved watching as well. "Did you see how far he hit that ball?! I hope I'm that good some day!" I hope he's as kind and giving as his Daddy is someday, too.

Serving isn't always convenient. In fact, most of the time it isn't. It interrupts your plans for your day or your week. But our time isn't really ours. We are here to do God's work. When we do, our souls are filled. We are amazed by grace in face of adversity, uplifted by faith and given a glimpse into what it means to truly love someone else more than we love ourselves.

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