I coined the term care worker to indicate that long term care ministry encompasses as wide a field as being a care giver. Whether we are making a hospital visit, spending time with a shut-in or singing for a special needs child we all share something in common. We are providing a shepherd’s care.
Am I my brother’s keeper? Genesis 4:9
Cain’s 6,000 year old question reflects in a strange way his brother Abel’s vocation as a keeper of sheep. His bitter rejection of any responsibility as a care giver is still being asked in our society today. When does God expect us to provide shepherd’s care for someone else? The answer is “Any time we can”. God has given us opportunities in our community to serve as care workers. We do not need to wait till by necessity we are “care givers” for a friend or family member. Any day is a good day to be a shepherd. There is no experience required and free training is always available!
This month I began learning along with a small group of other prospective volunteers how to help with hospice care. The love and dedication of the woman who is training us has been both an inspiration and example. As a volunteer chaplain and a song leader my ministry at Nursing home has focused on what to say or sing to give hope. This week I was amazed to see just how much hope quiet listening can give. I came away from the orientation sessions with this one quote. I pray it will be a blessing to you as well.
“The quieter we become, the more that we can hear!”.
If you are like me and wish God would speak more clearly, then ask yourself- How quiet has my heart been this week?
The still unfolding story of yet another deranged man with a gun – this time at a nursing home touched a nerve with me tonight. Whatever the motivation for the violence will soon be lost in another shouting match over 2nd amendment rights and gun control. The three dead employees will soon be forgotten by everyone but God. But in spite of the night of hatred, division and fear that seems to get darker by the hour there is still hope. God has not nor will He ever abandon us. If we cry He is listening. When we lie awake sleepless with anxiety, He stands watch. In the deepest despair He plants a seed of hope. God’s kingdom whether in the life of an individual or a community always starts with the tiniest of seeds. Will you plant your seed of hope with me tonight in prayer that together we might see it grow one day into a mighty tree of faith?
Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Luke 12:7 ESV
Joan* (not her real name) sits in the corner of the room in her wheel chair with a smile. She cannot make cookies any longer for the grandchildren. Joan will not go to choir practice or sing in the Easter pageant this year. In the harsh viewpoint of the world, Joan’s is a useless life. But when God looks down He sees a happy child who gave joy to her parents. He remembers a loving wife, a wise mother and a caring neighbor. Most of all God has engraved on His heart the very moment Joan gave her life to Him and today after more than 80 years it is still His. So when Jesus walks by her in the wheel chair He stops and delightedly gives her all His attention. Because in Joan Jesus sees not a life that is useless but a life that has been well lived and loved by God!