I have often published news of our Nursing Home Ministry work on the Praise2worship blog but today God has put on my heart the plan to launch a separate blog site on WordPress devoted exclusively to Visitation / Nursing Home Ministry. I will be posting about twice a week with a variety of training material, personal stories and updates on our activities. It would be great for others who have an interest in this to interact with us on this blog-site. We would love to hear what others are doing and how you are encouraged in any way by the posts here. God bless our fellow workers in this often overlooked and underestimated outreach.
If you are considering Nursing Home Ministry or any other kind of work for God, this blog-site is for you!
Let’s begin our first post with another look at, “the Parable of the Good Samaritan”
Luke 10:30-35 NKJV Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’
The first person we meet is the man who fell among thieves. His story was a lot like that of the residents in any nursing home. The thieves that caught him by surprise go by various names, such as age, physical disability or disease. People fall into a system where they lose control of their finances, their health and their personal freedom.
Three different people came by the man that day. The first was a priest. He came from a good family, had chosen to dedicate himself to God’s work and was recognized as a leader in his community. But in spite of his opportunity to show God’s mercy, that day he failed. He passed by, saw the need but chose not to get involved. The second man was only a follower of the first, so he simply took the same path – the path of least resistance. Last in line came the Samaritan. This was the man from whom no one expected any help. But when the Samaritan passed by that place, he saw the need, rolled up his sleeves and got involved. He became a neighbor when he became a part of the injured man’s world…
This blog is designed not just to inspire you, but to challenge you to become a “roll up your sleeves” neighbor! Why? Because there are countless men and women left to die at the side of the road in every community. I did some research and discovered that within seven miles of the center of our small city live 2700 people in long-term nursing home care. From the street they look clean and well landscaped. The entrances are nicely decorated but what is lacking for the vast majority of the residents is someone, anyone who will come to visit, listen to them and call them by name. To be a nursing home ministry worker doesn’t require a special title, God is just looking for neighbors. Are you ready to be a neighbor?
When our boys were small we used to read to them Richard Scarry’s “Cars and Trucks and Things that Go” The greatest delight they had was to find on each page, where the illustrator had hidden the little character named Goldbug. Sometimes Goldbug would be waving from the back of a bus and on the next page he would be riding next to a fireman in the fire truck. No matter what the story line or the featured vehicles, we were always sure to spend a moment looking for our little friend. Then when the boys spotted him they would point and cry out with glee, “There’s Goldbug!” Solomon tells us that In the same way, God has painted a detail into every page of creation and then plants within our hearts the unexplainable longing to understand His eternal plan.
The often hated Purple Thistle shows off his beauty in September. He has grown unnoticed all year. No one has wanted him or looked out for his success. But here he is, showing off the deep purple colors of his flowers behind a well protected circle of spines. Not many will try to browse on him so he will delightedly spread his seed through all the fields around for the far future generations of his own kind.
In our neighborhood, maybe in our our family or at our jobs, we are sometimes like him. No one sees a value in the life God has planted within us. But quietly protected by God’s side we will have our own moment to bloom. There between the petals of our flower, are eternal seeds that by God’s grace spread of the message of Jesus Christ. The blossom is for just an season, but the eternity of God is enclosed within every seed. Close you eyes and imagine for a moment, that seed falling on another heart. In the midst of their difficulties and right in the center of their daily routine. The seed slowly settles in then germinates and a light suddenly switches on and they cry out with glee, “There’s Jesus!”
“Do you continue to go with Jesus? The way lies through Gethsemane, through the city gate. outside the camp; the way lie alone.” Oswald Chambers
So Jacob was left alone,and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. Genesis 32:24
Autumn is a time of the closing of doors, the battening down of hatches, the gathering of the birds for their Winter flight to the south. In the overture to the ending of the year we begin to hear the symphony of God’s creation building to a crescendo just before the final note. There comes a sense of alone-ness that is not forsaken. We are not left alone to ourselves, but like Jacob we are left by the brook to wrestle with God through the night.
Jesus went to the garden and there despite his request to the disciples to tarry with Him, he was left alone. He prayed with such desperation that the sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. Will we follow Him there? Will we remain true through the passing of the seasons in our lives? Will we continue through the frost-time and the first signs of snow and ice? Will we be there with our Lord when He calls us to tarry with Him?
If we do we will discover the promise of God sealed to our hearts. God will come to us just as He came to Jacob and left His blessing behind. He will be with us through our struggles just as Jesus’, passion was rewarded with the presence of angels strengthening Him for the cross. His promise of eternal life is not dimmed by our sorrows nor is it endangered by our battles. God will be true to His word forever. Our God will remain by our side till the end of our day and through the darkness to His own eternal morning.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.Romans 12:3
Did you know that the leaves are being prepared for the changing season long before the first hint of autumn red or yellow appears? The tree seals the base of the stem off from the sap flow in late August. Then, week by week the strong green chlorophyll dies and as it dies we see revealed the less dominant red,yellow and pink chlorophyll below.
In our own lives God is calling for a season of change, Unlike the unvarying laws of seasonal change, we are asked for our own personal choice in the transformation. Only God can do the miracle, but only we can choose to open the door to Him. Just as the Autumn colors are preparing to reveal the beauty hidden in the leaves, so also there lies within our hearts a hidden beauty that will only be known when we surrender ourselves to Christ.