Disability Helps Protect the Church from Lukewarmness

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Donor Officer

Rarely does disability elicit an indifferent response:

  • Joni Eareckson Tada wanted to kill herself.1
  • I entirely rejected God as good, kind, merciful and purposeful.
  • Even families who fully embrace God as sovereign over all things must now deal with a new reality that raises hard questions.

And this can be a helpful thing for a local church. God has strong feelings about being lukewarm:

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:15-16).

Church leaders: you should want families like mine in your churches. God is often pleased to use us a protection against drifts into the fog of lukewarmness. Big questions are raised. Important action is necessitated.

Unfortunately, it is possible to lead people into a self-congratulatory, lukewarm stupor about disability in a church. We can create elaborate programs and train people to use the right words and help people behave properly toward those with disabilities — yet completely leave God out of it, ignoring or even discounting all that God has said about his own sovereignty over all things, including disability.

Christians (and pastors in particular), we are not called to merely "do something" about disability in our churches, we are called to help our people see God accurately and develop a white-hot passion for his glory.

This God will bring people with disabilities to your church who are gifts to the body, enjoying equal standing before the Father. Some will be called to serve people with disabilities and some people with disabilities will be called to serve you.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

  1. Joni Eareckson Tada, The God I Love, 171. 

(@johnpknight) is a Donor Officer at Desiring God. He is married to Dianne, and together they parent their four children: Paul, Hannah, Daniel, and Johnny. Paul lives with multiple disabilities including blindness, autism, cognitive impairments, and a seizure disorder. John writes on disability, the Bible, and the church at The Works of God.