I coined the term care worker to indicate that long term care ministry encompasses as wide a field as being a care giver. Whether we are making a hospital visit, spending time with a shut-in or singing for a special needs child we all share something in common. We are providing a shepherd’s care.
Am I my brother’s keeper? Genesis 4:9
Cain’s 6,000 year old question reflects in a strange way his brother Abel’s vocation as a keeper of sheep. His bitter rejection of any responsibility as a care giver is still being asked in our society today. When does God expect us to provide shepherd’s care for someone else? The answer is “Any time we can”. God has given us opportunities in our community to serve as care workers. We do not need to wait till by necessity we are “care givers” for a friend or family member. Any day is a good day to be a shepherd. There is no experience required and free training is always available!
So if God is calling us to care ministry then we need to ask how Jesus demonstrated it while He was here on earth. When Jesus went around from village to village there were no nursing homes for Him to visit but in His day, the pool of Bethesda was similar to a long term care facility in some ways. Let’s just peek in to a scene from His visit there.
One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” John 5:5-6
As Jesus entered Jerusalem to attend one of the religious holidays, he chose to pay a visit to someone in need. You might compare this to making a detour on the way to a Thanksgiving dinner to see someone in the nursing home. You see that day almost everyone was headed out to sit down to a special dinner with friends or family, everyone that is except for the crowd at the Bethesda pool. There people waited in hope of a miracle.
Nursing homes are filled with people just like those folks. The man that Jesus came to see had been waiting and dreaming of a miracle for 38 years. In fact this man didn’t even know who Jesus was. Jesus didn’t show up to see a show, or to bring a reward for good behavior. Jesus came because He knew how long this man had waited. He came to show mercy. Nursing home ministry is about showing God’s mercy to people just like that man. When we show God’s mercy to people Jesus comes. Care ministry is simply taking the time to show someone that God still cares, The best question to ask is not if we show go but rather; where can I go to be a care minister today?
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
Often lost in the whole pro-life/ pro-choice debate is the heart of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the defender of life but we must not be so focused on life beginning at conception; that we forget it doesn’t end at birth. In God’s eyes; life is not only about its opening chapter, but also about its closing lines. The same Savior, who writes down the name of every child in His book also offers to carry each of us in His arms to the very end. Where we stand on the issue of life is not only about what we say, but more importantly is about what we do. How we chose to invest our time and hearts in the lives of others will reap returns for all eternity. What better pro-life statement can we make than to serve the real people in our own small corner of this world from conception to their final breath?
Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. Isaiah 46:4
I want to thank Jason Lewis for contributing this piece reflecting his personal experiences in caring for his mom. As a volunteer chaplain at a nursing facility for over 25 years I am delighted to be joined by someone else who does what they can, where they are to serve those in that vulnerable chapter […]
via Attending Church Helps Seniors — praise2worshipdotnet