by Ned Stoller Ned Stoller

We here at Disability Work Tools are dedicated to helping you – the working person – to maximize your potential and be able to continue your job regardless of disability, injury or disease. We also like to think we can help by encouraging folks to look on the inside – inside our hearts – where we are all wounded and hurt to some extent or another. We encourage you to look to God for those hurts. 

Too many people, however, God = religion; which basically amounts to people trying to get near to God. It’s pretty much a given that most religions teach we all sin or do wrong – separate ourselves from God. (Which sin does do, by the way.) Most religions teach about what you have to do to please God and curry His favor. They all basically say “do good things to earn your way to get in good with God” to get to Heaven. (They all pretty much agree there is a perfect place of some sort worth getting to.) 

I cannot think of any belief system that teaches that GOD came near to the people. That HE took the steps necessary to draw us to Him. Oh, wait. There is one. Let me tell you a story about that. 

It is centered around a simple man, a poor carpenter from a small town. He worked with his hands all day long. He’d had an interesting childhood and most knew not what to make of him. It seems his teenage years and twenties were pretty uneventful. When he turned 30, everything changed. 

JohnThe change started with a different man, a crazy man (at least many thought of him that way – there weren’t many people running around in a camel hair coats eating grasshoppers topped with honey.) Anyhow, this crazy guy was going around dunking people in rivers and lakes, yelling that if they changed their ways and were dipped in water, they could get close to God again. He says God tells him to do this. 

Hold it, you might say. That sounds like something not much different than any other religion. Do this. Do that. Be good and you’ll get to heaven. But hold on again! The crazy guy also said that someone was coming after him, one who he could not even compare to. One who would take care of all our wrongs.

Then this carpenter shows up at one of the crazy guy’s river sessions and asks to be dunked. This crazy guy (his name was John) says, Wait. You’re the one who I’ve been saying will come. The one who will take care of all our wrongs. I can’t dunk you! You should be dunkin’ me! But this carpenter guy tells John, no way. God told you to tell all people they must repent and be baptized, right? So to fulfill what He said, I must do this. 

So the crazy guy (John) dunks him (the carpenter). God’s voice comes from nowhere John baptizing Jesusand says that this plain ol’ guy who works with wood is His son – and He’s proud of him. After this, we don’t hear much more about the crazy guy (maybe it’s because he was killed for telling people this stuff). 

The carpenter guy (his name was Josh) goes on to totally go against all the organized religion of the day (like all other religions it said you had to do this or that to Get Right With God.) Josh turned the world upside down. He did and said things no one had ever heard or said before. He said women and children were valuable – when up til then they were viewed as less than that. Guess that makes him the first guy to really talk about how women were as valuable as men. How kids were precious. How all of us are precious to him no matter what we did wrong, no matter the level of that sin. 

So he challenges all the muckety mucks of the church of the day and says cut out all this trying to be perfect and stuff. All you need to do is give up your ways – on a heart level, give up your ways and seek his forgiveness. That’s all? The people asked. Yeah, he says. That’s all. Well, that and believe in the good news that I am bringing. So what’s that, they ask. So Josh spends the next three years telling everyone about what that good news is. 

The news he was spreading was that he (Josh) was going to take care of the sins of the world. Believe in me (that I’m going to pay for your sins and not you trying to be good enough) Believe in me, he says, and you’re good. Live life the way I teach about, and you’ll be much happier and content – not that life will be easier, just that you’ll be more satisfied with it. After you have come to me, my power that forgave your sins will also help you to live in freedom. So people start believing in him and following him. More and Jesus on the crossmore people. So the big guys in the church (and anyone else who wanted things to stay the same) says no way. You can’t get away with this. So they killed the carpenter. (Which he predicted they would do). They figured that was it – problem solved. He’s dead. So much for being happier and content. That showed him, they figured. 

But wait! They didn’t figure on his body disappearing. They didn’t figure on him showing up again with a big hole in his side. They didn’t figure on Josh saying that’s why he came. To die. To pay for our sins. To wipe them out. To make our lives better – inside, where it counts. 

It’s like an engine needing repair, or a field needing to be plowed. Try as it might, the engine can’t fix itself and the field can’t plow itself. But the farmer can come along and care for the field, plowing it up to bring new life. The mechanic can fix the engine and replace the broken parts with new ones so it can be out on the road again. As these things can’t fix themselves, neither can we. Josh knew that all along – not only that we needed our sins forgiven, but that our lives on this earth needed to be fulfilling as well. But, remember what he taught – living life the way he taught does not remove the sin we all carry, it just makes your life more freeing, not more restricting like so many believe is supposed to happen after you accept Him. 

Who is he that he can do this for us, you ask? Well, he is the Son of God. He is perfection. There was no sin in him. See, sin requires death. There is a penalty to pay for sin – none of us can escape that. God’s essence cannot be contaminated with sin. It’s like oil and water. The two won’t mix. But He wants us in his presence. He wants YOU. 

So that’s why Josh had to die. Sin requires death as a payment. But we can’t pay that price; no sinful person can. But Josh could. And did. He voluntarily allowed himself to be ripped apart from his Father – to be separated. To become those sins. He took the death we deserved. He died as payment for the sins. He was buried. Three days later, when Josh’s body could not be found, it was because God had raised him from the dead. Doing that, God said “It is paid in full. I accept Josh’s death as payment for anyone who believes that Josh’s death is the only payment acceptable to Me.” 

So that’s it. You go to Josh. Believe in him. That He forgives our sins. Hold it, you say again. Still sounds like something I have to do! But wait. It is something you have to do – believe in Him. Believe in what He did. What He DID was come to us first. He’s handing out the gift of His life – offering it to us. All we have to do is take it.
So. You do have to do something to get close to God. You have to accept that Gift. But that’s a lot different than following a bunch of rules and regulations to get close to God. He came to get close to you first. You just need to take His outstretched hand 

We’re all disabled. All of us. We’re all handicapped by our sin. DWT certainly can’t come up with a tool to solve that. No one can. No one can do anything – there is no ritual, there is no amount of ‘being good’, nor is there anything else that can be done to please God. You cannot curry His favor through your actions. That’s the shocking truth about religion. There is no tool, no physical therapy, no medicine to take care of that disability. We (and I mean all people) can’t take care of it either. But all we have to do is to take that gift. 

By the way (and you probably already figured this) Josh’s other name was JESUS.The empty tomb