But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ 1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV
For residents in a nursing home life can sometimes feel like a place of total defeat. You can see it in the stooped shoulders or hear it in the angry reactions to small annoyances. In our own home as we are passing through my wife’s battle with cancer I am finding myself facing the same struggles. I feel like a rowboat caught in the tidal wave of serious illness and family turmoil. That is exactly the situation which the disciples faced as the accompanied Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus had asked them to pray with him for one hour; but the Bible tells us that
And when He rose from prayer He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow. Luke 22:45
They were overcome by sorrow, but not their master. Jesus had prayed till His sweat fell like drops of blood. Jesus had continued interceding even when they felt defeated. In the same way He is interceding in heaven for you and I today. Neither our sorrow nor our despair will cause Him to abandon us. He will come and awaken us. He will carry our burdens. He chose in that dark garden to pay the full price for our sin to give us hope. It is that hope which lies behind the cry:
O Grave where is your victory? Death where is your sting? 1 Corinthians 15:55
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses Matthew 8:17
If we think that God is so intimately concerned with our physical needs that He has counted even the number of hairs on our head. We have a great hope that whether in this life or in the next; God will heal every disease, restore all that is broken and renew our youth like the eagles!
Whether sitting in a wheel chair in a nursing home or confined to a bed with a tracheotomy tube in order to breathe, Jesus offers the hope of complete and entire healing as one part of His promise of eternal life. That promise may be overlooked or forgotten by we who are in perfect health, yet God does not forget. The same Jesus who was moved with compassion for lepers, the blind and the lame has promised to wipe every tear from our eyes. He not only has compassion for our aches, pains and disabilities but the Bible tells us that He took all of these onto his shoulders and carried them. If we continue reading in the chapter of Isaiah that Matthew quotes we see that in the very next verse that it is by His stripes that we are healed. God is so very concerned for every one of our pains and infirmities that He allowed a whip to fall across the shoulders of Jesus. As He was wounded again and again we were being healed. Weak arms will be lifted, failing voices will sing again and deaf ears will hear the shepherd’s voice! Yes we have the hope of healing! When the temporary things of earth have passed we will stand strong and eternally young in the presence of our ageless King!
Nursing home ministry is not just something nice or a little extra side line for the church to investigate. Nursing home ministry is in fact an expression of the very heart of the Jesus Christ. In Matthew 25 Jesus talks about how we treat him in places like prisons, sick beds, orphanages and other places of abandonment and suffering. When we as His church consistently remember the importance of a true commitment to include such places in our outreach we may not get much notice in this world; but we will make the headlines in heaven! If we choose to allocate our church budget and sacrificially give of our time in order to value those whom Jesus values we will never regret it in eternity. Here in this small book is the compilation of more than 25 years of experience given as a guide, an encouragement and a call to action for those who are willing to hear.
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me Matthew 25:38-40
Nursing Home Ministry – The Heart of Jesus Christ
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!