So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me please.” And he said to them, “I am Joseph whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” Genesis 45:4-5 ESV
Too often the unknown stories of residents in long term care are the wounds left behind by unresolved family differences. But the good news is that God isn’t finished with any of us yet. Remember that as a young boy, Joseph had a dream which got him into trouble with his brothers. Some of us probably think of Joseph’s life as a blueprint for success. We figure that if we can just stick it out like Joseph did, then one day we will get the great job, the big home or the perfect marriage that we always dreamed of. But the story behind Joseph’s problem was his father’s favoritism and because of it the hatred that his brothers had towards him. But then God intervened.
God’s dream for Joseph was not about his becoming rich powerful or successful. God’s intention was for Joseph and his family to discover that the greatest treasure of all was forgiveness and reconciliation. Though we can never undo our past, we can find a way forward by learning to forgive, accept and allow God to restore us. The separation of anger, distance or even death can be bridged because on the cross Jesus gave his life so that ours could be restored. This morning’s news is that no matter our memories of past hurts or sorrows; God can heal and through forgiveness discover His greatest purpose is love.
I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:4 NLT
As we were singing “How great Thou art!” at the nursing home last week; it occurred to me that some of my friends could no longer remember where they were or how they had come to live there. A few had forgotten their children’s names and one or two, even their own. But as we sang that familiar chorus; most had no trouble at all remembering the words as we lifted up our voices in praise.
As the last notes faded away I remembered that what really mattered was not how smart we were, how much money we had in the bank or where we lived; but in how much we mattered to God. He has given us His promise to carry us not only during our years of beauty and youth but on through white hair and failing memory. His love is an eternal and unchanging commitment. Even when everyone else forgets, Jesus will still take care of us. He has promised to carry us for a lifetime: and no matter where we live we can still sing to Him today!
For more information on sharing music in Nursing Home Ministry Here is the first of a three part video series on Music Ministry in a Nursing Home Setting. Have a blessed day!
The original purpose of initiating New Beginnings was to offer a place for those interested in or touched by Long Term care. I hit the pause button for a while due to the lack of response however in light of new interest some people have shown I will be relaunching in 2020. Our overall purpose is to support, encourage and provide resources for those who are interested in nursing home ministry or whose life has been touched by long term care. I pray this short vireo will give you some encouragement and I wish you each a Merry Christmas as we pause to remember our Savior’s birth who came to be the Shepherd and chief Care Giver for us all!
The change in name of this web-site does not mean we are going to stop sharing about nursing home ministry but rather that there will now be included different types of similar outreach to. Right now the entire traditional nursing home as an institution is undergoing change at an amazing pace. Each year new places are opening offering specialized facilities such as assisted living; memory care along with skilled nursing. While some assisted living communities are beginning to resemble 5 star resorts while others are far more plain and cater to those with mental and physical disabilities.
What these changes mean for those of us who are volunteering is that we need to adapt and prepare for the new and more complex world of long term care. Someone once told me that during times of change it is important to know that what is happening is not what is going on. What we need to do is to see what is really going on!
Decades ago the emergence of large skilled nursing institutions at first created barriers between the church and the people behind those walls which often left residents feeling isolated and alone. But when we changed our approach to reaching our neighbors behind inside those places we discovered that inside those facilities were new and unique opportunities to serve.
New Beginnings is an effort to shed light on the latest developments in long term care along with ways to continue sharing the love of God in those new settings. Today I’ll simply begin with the term “Nursing home ministry” and offer a suggestion that we instead begin to call our various outreaches “Care ministry”.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. John 13:14 ESV
Our work is “Care Ministry” because no matter where we serve or what title we hold our purpose as God’s servants is to show His love (care) by washing feet. Foot washing means meeting ordinary needs for the extraordinary reason of the love of Jesus Christ. When we meet the needs of others it won’t really matter where we meet them. Whether that location looks like a resort or a last resort; the people who live there need to know that God still remembers and cares about them. He is just as concerned with the rich as the poor. God is equally burdened for the intelligent as for the mentally challenged. Not a single sparrow escapes his attention. When we show we care in a thousand different ways we are in fact serving in “Care Ministry”.
If you have stories of your own as a volunteer in any area of care ministry I invite you over the next weeks and months to share your own stories here. If we would connect with one another; together we can all learn how to better wash the feet of people in our own city, town or village.