“Timmy’s different, but Jesus loves him!” The words of a little 5 year old girl. But what an impact they had on me so that I still remember them over 50 years later! What was so powerful about those words?
At the time I was in my early twenties with no real contact with the church or with the Bible. The only thing I knew about Jesus was that He had been crucified on a cross. I had come to know a little about Timmy the little girl’s brother. He was what was described then as “severely multi-handicapped”. So much so that he had to be institutionalised in a special facility for such children. Another description was that he was virtually “a vegetable” with no hope of ever leaving that facility.
The terms used to describe him seem to be very insensitive in today’s understanding of people with needs. But that was Timmy’s situation and his parents and his sister came often from the country to visit him.
Timmy was indeed “different” from other children. From a previous conversation I had a picture of Timmy as having no real hope of every becoming more “normal” as we would have said in those days. He would never make any “contribution” to society as we would have put it then. In the eyes of some people he would be “of no value”. Even his sister said he was “different”.
I wasn’t prepared for the words or the way in which they were said, when she added, “But Jesus loves him!” They were said by a sister who obviously loved him. They were said with the innocence of a young child. She had probably been taught those words by her parents. But they impacted me big-time. Who was this Jesus that he could love such a human being? How could this Jesus see value in what some had described as virtually a “vegetable”? Would this Jesus love me and others who needed to be loved?
“Timmy’s different, but Jesus loves him!” What an evangelistic message! At least it was to me. It made me want to read about this Jesus who had such love for such needy, needy people. I began to open a Bible and as they say, “the rest is history” or as I have discovered in life, “His story.”
As a Christian minister I have been involved in church ministry for over 40 years and in Cathedral ministry for close on 30 years. Because of this I have had the privilege of listening to some of the world’s greatest preachers. Many of them have made some impact on my life but I have forgotten what most of them said. What I have not forgotten even 50 years later is the message shared by a little 5 year old girl, “Timmy’s different, but Jesus loves him!”
Isn’t this what evangelism is all about? Sharing what we know about Jesus with other people? The little girl couldn’t have passed New Testament Year 1 at a theological college at that time. But she passed the test of sharing what she knew about Jesus with someone who at that time virtually knew nothing about Him. Her words helped motivate him to find out more about the Jesus who loves.
As a little 5 year old girl taught me, “Evangelism is sharing what you know about Jesus with other people.”
Jim Holbeck. Blog No 10. Posted on Wednesday 23February 2011.