When I see mentally or physically handicapped people, I tend to avoid them rather than embrace them. When I come across homeless people begging for money on the street, I feel anger instead of compassion, because I feel that they choose to depend on other people’s charity rather than stand on their own feet. My negative feelings increased after I read a newspaper article that said that many homeless people use the money they collect on the street for alcohol or drugs.
However, deep in my heart, I know that this attitude of mine is wrong. Jesus cared about and even identified himself with helpless people. In the parable of the sheep and the goats, he said, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)
Because Jesus loved these people, I try to love them myself. Sometimes, I even think about whether I should work for these people when I retire as senior pastor and have more time available.
A few people with kind hearts started a class for our autistic children on Sunday. But workers for the class quit after serving for a short while. Ideally, each child needs one-on-one attention, but there were not enough volunteers to provide that. A few workers ended up looking after many children and some of them quickly burned out.
When autistic children reach puberty, it becomes more difficult to take care of them. They become physically strong and sexually curious, so each one requires a couple of caretakers, preferably male, since they are mostly male. If we don’t get more male volunteers soon, we may have to send our autistic children to a nearby American church, which is known to have an excellent program and good facilities for autistic children.
But thinking about this possibility makes me feel bad because I am reminded of what Jesus said: “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:13-14)
Our church has become a happy church because our church members, especially Shepherds and their spouses, serve non-believers without expecting anything in return. My prayer is that we can extend this love and care to physically and mentally handicapped children, the homeless, and senior citizens. At the very least, I hope that we get enough volunteers so that we can continue our class for autistic children.
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