Often when some think of nursing home ministry they imagine a few old ladies who play bingo and go to listen to a couple of hymns once a week as their religious activity. But we are not called just to cheer people up and go home. God’s call involves touching entire families at a time in their lives they are most open to the message of Jesus Christ. The numbers of people living in assisted living, long-term care and half way houses is dwarfed by the number of friends and family members who are dramatically impacted by the needs of one.
A great example from the Bible was how God called the apostle Peter to bring God’s message to people who he never considered even socializing with. Peter just thought he was going to have a meal with his own friends, but God had other plans! God sent a vision and he also sent an invitation that Peter could no longer refuse. When Peter obeyed God’s direction he traveled to another city and the next day he didn’t meet just one person; he met a crowd!
And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. Acts 10:24
Peter probably did a double take when he saw all the people gathered. Then Peter simply shared the plain message of hope, salvation and eternal life. There was no music, no program, no funds dispersed. He just gave it to them straight in love and opened the door for God to begin something miraculous!
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. Acts 10:44
Because we have meetings in two different facilities we have had the opportunity to minister to one entire family. At the end of a meeting recently I was passed a note by the youngest daughter, “Pastor Pete could you please pray for my Mom and brother. Mom is stable but in congestive heart failure.” Her brother suffered a stroke/ Her Mom is able to breathe only by means of a Trach. But through God’s appointment all three come to church, hear the word and sing the songs with us. It all began with just a single invitation to meet a single person but God has called together entire families who are ready and waiting for us to tell them the good news that jesus remembers their address and that He has a better address waiting for them in heaven!
As we begin to prepare for the Christmas
program at Allied Skilled Nursing I am reminded that we are in a battle. At a recent holiday banquet to which many of us volunteers were invited we listened to a local choir sing almost 20 songs without a single mention of Jesus Christ.
While I am not militantly opposed to singing Jingle bells or White Christmas I see that we are in a struggle to keep the focus of the Christ of Bethlehem. People will have more than enough opportunity to hear about snowmen, the Grinch and Santa from everyone else. We have this one time of the year to point to the light of the world, who was born in Bethlehem.
We are given the greatest privilege to honor Jesus in telling again the story of His birth. So yes organizing a program is never easy. Chasing people around and competing for their time at the holidays is a challenge. But all our efforts are worth it because we have the privilege one more time to present the story of God”s great love for the world. We have one more chance to get in the battle for Christmas and to celebrate the Savior of the world.
Matthew 2:2 …“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”