Providing Hope for a Better Tomorrow
On March 24, 2010, my dad and I had the opportunity to speak to guests of the Hope Network Foundation in Grand Rapids, MI. The Hope Network Foundation provides a much needed service to those in the community with disabilities, providing everything from housing, employment, and most importantly, providing pastoral care. So often, our churches are either ill-equipped to provide for the needs of people with disabilities, or they have attitudes that give off a message to the community that suggests that people with special needs are not wanted in the kingdom of God.
I find the direct opposite to be true in Jesus’ ministry. In Jesus’ day, society had built walls around the diseased, handicapped, and around those who were easy targets of ridicule. Sound much different from today? Oh, maybe we don’t require certain people to live outside the city gates, but we do prefer that that they live in “another part of town.” Maybe we provide some services to those with disabilities, but so often it is because the US law says to do so rather than because we are following the example of our Savior. Jesus breaks through the man-made barriers time and time again, and when asked why, His reply is always some form of “because I know the will of my Father.” If we are truly following Jesus, we must have a heart for those whom society has already turned its back on. Jesus loves everyone, and so should we…
I absolutely love the work at Hope Network Foundation, and thank them for encouraging me through hearing about their mission. The question is, though, why must we have organizations like this? This organization specifically carries out the mission of Christ…but why has the church gone so far astray of this mission? If Christ’s church is to continue to be THE source of love in this world, we must find a way to get past the way we look, and we must learn to see Jesus in each and every person.
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