And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” Luke 18:3-5 ESV
Lots of people I have met love the idea of visiting folks at the nursing home. However, of the dozens of volunteers who have bravely launched out on the mission with me, only a very few actually stick at it more than a couple of weeks. What they lack is not ability or even a love for people but the nitty-gritty persistence of this widow in today’s passage. In fact, Jesus was so impressed with this lady that He used her as a prime example of what it meant to be faithful. In Nursing home ministry this principle is essential. There will be difficulties, disappointments and even passive resistance to our serving people for the Lord Jesus Christ. But before giving up or giving in to discouragement, let’s take a moment or two to glean some pointers from our widow friend.
First of all, the widow clearly and completely communicated her message. She didn’t beat around the bush, try to ply the judge with compliments or pretend that she was indifferent to his response. Just like her, we need to fully and completely share the message of the love, sacrifice and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. We aren’t just there to play bingo, knit socks or plant flowers.
Though all those things are nice, we are sent to long term care facilities as messengers of the King. We must be kind but also clear, gentle but also good communicators of the gospel. Secondly, we must always be respectful. Even though she went every day to the judge’s house, she never complained he was taking too long, never accused him of corruption (though he was!) and never disrespected his authority. If we are to make any serious headway in ministering in a facility, it is a great advantage to have the staff on our side. Even in poorly run homes (And I have been in one or two) there is some good we can do if we respect the rules and take the authority of the administration seriously. Last of all, our heroic widow never gave up. No matter how many times she heard the word no, saw the door closed in her face and saw looks of pity on her neighbors’ faces, she always went back. Serving in long term care is a special blessing, some days it’s the greatest fun, but it is also a commitment between us and Jesus to stay the course. There is an old saying that goes, “If He can get it through you, He’ll get it to you.” and usually people use this in relation to financial giving. But this is also true of giving by a nitty-gritty faithfulness of service and then receiving from Jesus an outpouring of His love for those precious people who most of the world has forgotten!