By: Lee Ann Jackson September 21, 2019

You know when you rush into the market to grab something real quick, a million things on your mind and any interruption to your mission is well, an irritation?

That was me the other day.

I ran into the market, grabbed a few things, rushed to the checkout line and there he was . . . Mike. The young man with one of the biggest and brightest smiles I know – every week it stops me in my tracks.

Mike has worked at Vons now for over two years. He usually works weekends and seeing him has become part of my weekend ritual.   It’s the same greeting every time I see him. “Hi. How are you? I’m so good, thank you.” That’s all he can muster but it’s a lot for him.  Words don’t come easily to Mike . . . he has autism.

I thought of Mike as I watched the America’s Got Talent, (AGT), finale this past week. When Kodi Lee was named the winner, it was Mike’s smile that came to mind – he and Kodi share bright smiles, bright lives and  . . . autism.

Joni Eareckson Tada watched this clip of AGT as Kodi, blind and with significant autism, sat at the piano playing and singing so beautifully.   She reflects in her recent blog:

The guy who couldn’t see and barely put two words together kept everyone in the audience sitting in rapt attention. I, too, was filled with wonder at how a young man with no eyesight and feeble speech could rock the world.

She notes however, that it’s so much more than that though as she closes the blog,

I’m convinced that when we ‘think the best of those with disabilities’ and open up ways for them to shine and share their gifts and abilities, it changes everything. Yes, the Rehab Act of 1973 paved the way, as did the ADA…but those laws and policies don’t change hearts. Only God can do that. And He does it when someone with special needs like Kodi shares their gift as a blessing to others. Such marvelous displays of God-blessed gifts enlarges our heart for praise to the Lord. For He is the One who delights to “chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Kodi reminds us that God blesses each of us with gifts – some will use their gifts to move a national TV audience to smile, some will bring a smile to grocery shoppers one at a time. Both, as Joni notes, enlarges our heart for praise to the Lord.  What Joni’s blog reminds us is the message she shares in her radio programs, “Joni and Friends” and “Diamonds in the Dust” – God uses each of us . . . in our own unique giftedness for His glory.

(Contact me at today to add either, or both, short features to your line-up!)


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