Tucked away in the History books of the Old Testament is a little-known narrative of love and power. In 2 Samuel chapter 4 readers are introduced to a young man named Mephibosheth who at the age of five suffered a debilitating fall and was unable to walk. His story resurfaces in chapter 9 after King David has assumed the throne. At this point David has officially replaced Saul and has the right to withhold any and every part of the kingdom from Saul’s family. When David invites Mephibosheth to meet with him, it is reasonable for Mephibosheth to be concerned. But King David immediately puts him at ease in 9:7 with “Don’t be afraid.” David, who was by no means flawless, in this moment chooses love and empowerment. It was within his power to wipe out Saul’s family, but he loved Sau’s son Jonathan and had asked about Jonathan’s descendants. He took Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, who offered little in the way of power and influence, and he chose to show him love, kindness, and genuine respect. David gives Mephibosheth the land that had belonged to Saul and instructs Saul’s former servant Ziba to work the land and see that Mephibosheth’s needs are met. Furthermore, Mephibosheth is guaranteed a place at the King’s table.
The story of Mephibosheth has clear spiritual application as we move into the New Testament. We are all offered love from a king who has chosen to empower those who believe and follow Him. King Jesus invites everyone to come and find their rest in Him. We are called to follow Him and represent Him as a member of the Heavenly Kingdom here on earth. Also, this story calls us to very practical application as well. There has been much progress in our society in the recognition and humanizing of individuals with special needs. Yet there is often still fear, confusion, and harsh judgement even from committed followers of Christ towards individuals and families who are striving find their place in a difficult world. We find in David an example of love and empowerment. We should lead with love and find ways to build friendships with people we might not understand or rarely notice. Churches should love and empower families not just with empathy but with opportunities to for individuals with special needs to be minister to and to be ministers of service themselves. There are many great organizations in Shawnee that seek to love and empower individuals with special needs. Find them, support them, and seek ways to build relationships. Pray for our Special Needs educators in our local schools and ask about ways to volunteer in the classroom or possibly with Special Olympics. In June there will be the annual Faith 7 Bowl basketball game, buy a ticket and help support F7. If you’d like to know other ways to volunteer you can also call South Central Industries at 275-3851. If we will be like David and just ask we can love and empower others.