“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. Luke 15:4-5 NKJV
Hi! “I’m Helen*. I’m from Kaiser Valley!” she greets me every week. Helen (not her real name) is perky, funny, and she now lives in
the Alzheimer’s ward at the nursing home I visit. Helen has an amazing memory for the verses of all the hymns. For most of her life, Helen attended church,sang in the choir, gave her offerings and like so many others she never once receives a visit from her pastor.
Being a pastor isn’t an easy job. Most people don’t understand the pressures, the demands and the temptations that we face every week. But pastors are also shepherds and as shepherds we are called to help to take care of sheep. Some sheep pay their tithes faithfully, dress nicely and shake our hands to tell us they loved the message. But some sheep lose their way. In this parable Jesus is talking about a lost sheep just like my friend Helen from Kaiser Valley. She is a sheep who has wandered off a little too far. One day she looked around and the rest of the flock was gone! There were no familiar landmarks. She cannot find anyone to help her find her way home. What all the Helens and Bobs and Alices and Marys need are shepherds who will come looking for them. Do not take this message as just another guilt trip, but rather as a gentle encouragement to remember how joyful it is when Jesus finds any one of us. Remember that the business of finding lost sheep is a great joy for both the shepherd and the sheep!
Are you ever called not to bear another’s burden? What about planning your own future, even when you’re someone’s caregiver? What if their “burdens” interfere with your personal goals for the future, are you allowed to set them aside?
via Planning Your Future as a Caregiver While “Bearing Another’s Burdens” — Paradigm Shift
There are some things that are so difficult even to think about as a care giver. I love this post because it is both practical and loving in its encouragement and advice. Thanks Emily for sharing this excellent post!!
And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury Mark 12:42-43 KJV
I had felt frustrated by the small number that came to our little nursing home service. It seemed like I was just rushing in, doing my duty and then going home. Then one afternoon God chose to change my outlook. As I was passing around shaking hands saying,” God bless you” to everyone, one woman slipped something into my hand. I opened up my palm and discovered two shiny quarters which she had given me. “No I can’t take this’” I protested. She just smiled widely and said “You keep those; there are lots more where they came from!”
I was instantly reminded of the widow’s two mites in the Bible story. I remembered that Jesus had said that the widow, “put in more than all these…” When God sends us the widow’s mites He is putting into our hands what he values most. I would not at all be surprised if some of the people standing near Jesus might have laughed. Those pitiful worn out copper coins were nothing to compare to the golden shower being poured in by the rich. But that afternoon God gave me a golden shower of laughter to lift my spirit. In that moment a light clicked on in my heart and I saw the preciousness of that woman in God’s eyes.
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!