I have a dear friend who is a special needs teacher and also coaches with the Special Olympics. She coaches a bowling team of very special high school students. Recently she and the team traveled to New Jersey to compete at the national level. We have been friends since our teen years. She had a loving heart then, just as she does now. She has a genuine love, as do those special youth she teaches.

Thinking about those special athletes reminds me of one of my cousins. Her daughter died at age sixteen from a weakened heart caused by Down Syndrome. Oh what a loving child her daughter was. I remember visiting when she was about three. We had to keep reminding her not to “love” my eighteen month old son so tightly. She always had a smile and was full of laughter. When she was of school age, the public school system did not want her to attend. They thought she would not be able to learn. However, my cousin kept insisting she could. They finally allowed her to go to school. With much encouragement from her family and caring teachers, she was able to complete the sixth grade before she died. She was eager to please and always wanted to keep on trying until she could accomplish the tasks, just like those special Olympians.

My cousin never gave birth again. But, that did not stop her and her husband from being parents again. They became foster parents and adopted other special needs children.  You see, their first child taught them to see the hearts of the other children, and not the outward appearances. They knew the potential those children had for loving.

We all could probably take notes from these special children. They are not so concerned about how they appear to others. They don’t perform their sport, or use their talents just to please man. Sure, they want to make their coaches happy. But, more importantly, they are eager to learn and use their talents and share genuine love towards their coaches and all whom they meet.

I wonder what God sometimes sees when He looks at me and you? When we “do” ministry services, does He see an eagerness and a willingness to learn from Him? Does our service reveal a genuine love?

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7b). NIV

Have you checked your appearance lately?

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making us all special. Father God, give us the eagerness and genuine love to be like Paul when he said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).  Lord, I pray that our “appearance” will be pleasing to you. In Christ name I pray. Amen.

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