When you think of virtue and disability, you probably think of videos of able-bodied people acting kindly towards people with disabilities. We don’t usually tell the stories of persons with disabilities practicing virtues. But they do.
There’s a community of people living with disabilities called Spoonies, so called because they relate to the idea that people with disabilities have fewer negotiable resources in a given day. [Read the Spoon Theory here.] I’d like you to think about Spoonies as Jesus might see them.
There’s a story in the Gospels of Jesus watching the people give offerings at the Temple. Some rich people were coming forward with ostentatious riches to offer. But Jesus noticed a widow woman who put only two mites into the offering. What did he say about her? Her offering was greater than all of the others, because she out of her poverty gave all she had. It’s the same with Spoonie Christians.
This is not to say that able-bodied Christians lack gifts to give. Of course they have plenty to give! But we need to make sure not to ignore the offering of everything that many Spoonies make in order to simply show up at church.
Don’t get me wrong. People with disabilities are often profoundly talented, and all are gifted with graces from God. But when you look at the offerings they make in terms of Spoons, they give all they have.
This is good for abled Christians to consider. When your church members with autistic children show up to church, they are giving all they have. When your church member with debilitating arthritis shows up to church, she’s giving all she has. That man with a vision impairment is giving all he has. That child with gene deletions who cries through the service is giving all he has. These are offerings acceptable to the Lord.
Don’t turn them away.