How the ”Can Do” attitude was installed in me-Manuele

How the ”Can Do” attitude was installed in me-Manuele brings a reflection on John 10:10.
”The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”.

27-year-old, Manuele Teofilo of Christian Fellowship For Disabled, Auckland has been involved in many National camps and was a volunteer a the Centre last year. He has cerebral palsy, is in an electric wheelchair, and has joined the Christian Disability Trust.
He was recently awarded the Chairperson Award at the Oceania Young Writers Conference in Melbourne.
Even writing this article excites me as an able bodied adult writer; since 1996 in the disability sector where Society’s historical attitude was to assume we and they can all see signs, read directions; hear announcements; respond to speech matters; reach buttons; have the strength to open heavy doors and have stable moods and perceptions.

Before he was a teenager he started saying that John chapter 10, Verse 10 was his favourite bible verse. It still is today. The words ”live life to the fullest” or ”abundantly”gripped his attention as a child. He read that as he got to give things a go ; do exciting things and not live an ordinary ”disabled” life.
His twelvish mind saw this verse as an inspiration to push through barriers. Thankfully, he never said that he could do anything at all as that would be foolish. Yet, it’s always been a motivation to not let his disability limit or prevent him from enjoying the best life possible. This verse instilled in him a ”can do” attitude. For one thing, because he believes that Jesus will give him the strength to do the things He has in store for him. For another, he interpreted the verse as a command to live extraordinarily and to strive for the best.

As he got older and read the Bible more, the motivation to live life to the fullest that John 10:10 triggered in him did not diminish. However, his understanding of the verse & passage developed.
He studied and understood what Jesus was talking about in this passage more.

Firstly, he read the whole verse and paid attention to the first bit of verse 10. The thief, the enemy, the evil one wants to ”steal, kill and destroy” him? Well, humanity and all creation, but this is his reflection piece, so yes he felt one of his targets. Steal his possessions and resources through his agents. His joy, lively spirit and allegiance to Christ he continually tries to kill. Ultimately, he longs for his soul to be captured and destroyed.

He read further up the page and discovered that verse 10 is part of Jesus’ explanation for His illustration in verses 1-5. Jesus repeated the phrases ”I am the gate” and ”I am the good shepherd” in His explanation. It’s about Him! It’s about Jesus!

He tried to calm his excitement about his light bulb moment, and tried to articulate like that moment the only way we can live a great life and live eternally is if we trust and rely in Him.
He wants the best for all of us and frankly Manuele’s idea of the best life is probably not the best. So, not only must we rely on the strength of Jesus we must also follow His guidance to stroll in the greatness that God has set out for us.

It is a continuous decision we must make. Either to look at what the thief is doing all around him illustrated above to bring him down, or to keep choosing to trust Jesus who came so we ”may have life and have it abundantly”.
Therefore, he believes that he can make the most of life no matter what the circumstances he
finds himself in. Driving around in a wheelchair doesn’t allow him to access some places.
Having a speech impediment frustrates him when he can’t talk to someone because they don’t understand him. However, he can choose to not let his troubles bog him down, but to let go and allow Jesus to bring out the best in every situation.

Our passions in life include encouraging people to spend time with God every day, and helping people discover their potential in God.

Paul Mulvaney.

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