We have had wonderful relationships over the past 36+ years of our son’s life where we have witnessed people really caring for him. Some of those relationships have been with family or friends, but a good number of them have been with people in the church. Some have been great, and some have been rather lacking. Let me explain. Church people tend to want to do what is best, what is kind, and often what is caring. The problem is, their offers or intentions don’t often turn into actions that would show they really cared or meant what they said. We have wonderful memories of people who’ve come to our home for meals, meetings, and of course fellowship. When the children were little there were times other families brought their children and it was heart warming to watch them interact and play with our son Joey who has special needs. We knew it was sometimes difficult to engage well with him because of his limitations and lack of abilities, but how very sweet it was when we’d see a young person sit down next to Joey and be his partner in a game or help him do something whether they would personally win or not.
But then there were/are the times when people say things they’d like to do that involve Joey and never follow through with it. The same thing holds true in ministry to those with special needs. Here are a few lines we’d consider when suggesting people be a person of THEIR Word:
· Don’t say you will do something when you have no intention of doing so.
· Don’t lead us to believe you’ll have us over for a visit when it’s likely the last thing you’ll do.
· Don’t say you can do something (for the church, the special needs group, or a family with a special needs child) when you have no thought of following through.
· Don’t say how much you care and are concerned about the program or person in this special needs group but then never follow up with volunteering in ways that would be so very helpful.
· Don’t say you’ll pray unless you mean it.
· Don’t wait for me to invite you (again) – just give me a call.
· Don’t wait to tell me you care – one day it will be too late.
Sometimes we say these empty words and they are left with the family or someone who’s running a program with hopes that we’ll see you again. When we don’t, truthfully, we are disappointed.
It’s clear our plates are all full with great things in which to be involved, donate our time, share our resources, love, and concern, and in which to participate. But while there are many people that can help in those places (in our lives as well as in the church), when you don’t keep your word, this is one place where you are missed and it is noticed. Let’s all be people of our word and follow through with our initial intentions even if it’s not always easy, comfortable, or fun. We’ll be forever grateful!