Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time preaching to crowds in the synagogues. he was more comfortable among lepers, tired fishermen or curious sinners. Nursing home ministry isn’t something extra it is in fact a part of the heart of Jesus Christ! Anyone can do nursing home ministry – even you and me!
Here are just some simple insights gained from over twenty years ministering at nursing homes. I hope these will be a help, an encouragement and a blessing for anyone wishing to serve better where they are called!
Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Luke 10:31-34 NKJV
The man who fell among thieves is a lot like that of the residents in any nursing home. The thieves that caught him by surprise go by various names, such as age, physical disability or disease. People fall into a system where they lose control of their finances, their health and their personal freedom.
Three different people came by the man that day. The first was a priest. He came from a good family, had chosen to dedicate himself to God’s work and was recognized as a leader in his community. But in spite of his opportunity to show God’s mercy, that day he failed. He passed by, saw the need but chose not to get involved. The second man was only a follower of the first, so he simply took the same path – the path of least resistance. Last in line came the Samaritan. This was the man from whom no one expected any help. But when the Samaritan passed by that place, he saw the need, rolled up his sleeves and got involved. He became a neighbor when he became a part of the injured man’s world…
Nursing homes are filled with suffering and it is easy and convenient to hide from it. We hide because we are afraid of the answers we do have have for why God would allow suffering. One part of rolling up our sleeves like the Samaritan is to understand not the “why” of suffering but the “How can I show the love of God” in the middle of sometimes desperate situations in people’s lives. In this short video Joni shares her unique viewpoint on suffering.
“God permits what He hates to accomplish that which He loves” Joni Eareckson Tada