Nursing home ministry is not just something nice or a little extra side line for the church to investigate. Nursing home ministry is in fact an expression of the very heart of the Jesus Christ. In Matthew 25 Jesus talks about how we treat him in places like prisons, sick beds, orphanages and other places of abandonment and suffering. When we as His church consistently remember the importance of a true commitment to include such places in our outreach we may not get much notice in this world; but we will make the headlines in heaven! If we choose to allocate our church budget and sacrificially give of our time in order to value those whom Jesus values we will never regret it in eternity. Here in this small book is the compilation of more than 25 years of experience given as a guide, an encouragement and a call to action for those who are willing to hear.
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me Matthew 25:38-40
Nursing Home Ministry – The Heart of Jesus Christ
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:2
Because I find it hard in a social forum like this to be transparent I rarely share my personal struggles. It relish safety as in the words of Paul Simon’s song, “I am a rock I am an island And a rock feels no pain.” But to pull the curtain back just a bit this morning I thought maybe someone else may benefit from my struggle this year to write.
About the beginning of 2017 I decided to write a full year of devotional readings. I confess that while it seemed a little daunting I figured that I could scoot through the work fairly easily. “After all” I told myself, “short devotional writing is what I have done for a long time.” While January – March did indeed fly by pretty rapidly I discovered some things about myself and about writing that I thought might be an encouragement to others.
Writing well is a lot of hard work! Not to mention leg cramps from hours at the key board and the frustration of trying to format material that insists on slipping out from under my control!
I am not really a professional writer in the way that a some in my family and a few of the readers of my blog are. I do have a degree in English but it feels like I just don’t get it, in a lot of ways and others seem to race ahead of me in accomplishing things I haven’t even thought of.
Everything of eternal worth must be learned first at the feet of Jesus. Filling pages with words, even words that people enjoy reading doesn’t accomplish anything if they don’t flow from the heart of God.
God loves me and is pleased with my best for Him even if it is not highly successful in the eyes of others. Twenty five years ago God asked me a question concerning my nursing home ministry, “Would you do it for one?” It felt like a light switched on in a dark room and I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a mirror. Just what was the reason that God had sent me? Was it so people would praise me or think I was a pretty nice guy? Or did my heart join with the love of Jesus Christ for forgotten and abandoned people, one by one left alone wishing that someone could sit and spend a little time at their side?
So whether you are struggling to put words on a page, leading a small group or trying to get through to your kids, take a deep breath and sit down for a minute. Now relax, close your eyes if it helps and remember. One day Jesus Christ visited one single man by the pool of Bethesda. To this day no one knows his name but He was not forgotten by the master and neither are we. Few people may ever know your name but Jesus does. Now open your eyes, stand back up and get back in the fight! God loves what you do whatever the results when you do it all for Him; if only just for one
I almost mowed the lawn for the first time yesterday but when I saw the tiny wild flowers growing I decided to leave it for another day. The children next door saw them and sent their father to knock on our back door. They wanted to know if please they could dig a few to take home! Jesus said that the most valuable things in life are hidden but they can be found. Maybe we just need to have the hearts and eyes of children to see what really matters!“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Matthew 13:44 NKJV
It was a little hard to get our teenagers together for an Easter program at the nursing home it was definitely worth it. After all between, school, part time jobs and just being teens they have a crazy schedule. If your church has or is considering a nursing home outreach I urge you to challenge your […]
via Our Easter Nursing Home Visit — Wouldyoudoitforone?
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served. John 12:1
Mary gets all the good press in most of today’s Bible teaching but we need to remember that Jesus also loved Martha and Lazarus. Lazarus the faithful silent brother, Mary the quiet and shy listener, and Martha the enthusiastic servant, each held a special place in the great heart of our Master. If you are one who speaks their mind without pause and who wishes others would help out more because you are overwhelmed by your activities then you need to know that you are greatly loved by Jesus Christ.
Just two days before the last supper and the cross Jesus was given a banquet apparently hosted by Martha though the Gospel of Mark tells us it was at Simon the leper’s house. Martha seems often to have been at the hub of activity. Remember that it was she who first invited Jesus to her home in Bethany and served him while her sister Mary sat listening. Jesus lovingly takes us each as we are. He doesn’t expect us who are like Martha to suddenly change into an eager listening Mary or a silent Lazarus. Yet in His acceptance Jesus does begin a sometimes painful work of transformation.
The difference between reading about nursing home ministry and committing to this short training course is the same as the difference between what Jesus did when He met the woman at the well and what the disciples did that day.
Jesus used the opportunity to help just one person and he reached an entire village. The disciples went into the village without telling a single person about Jesus! When I was able to travel to Nepal a few years ago we had some days when we only did what the disciples did, we walked through the towns and met people just like the woman at the well, but we didn’t say a word. We were separated by language and culture from knowing how to even buy a single fruit from the vendors. But on special days we went into small villages and by the help of translators and local pastors we were privileged to share the message of the love of Jesus What unforgettable moments those were!
Here is your challenge for week one. Meet one person who is a resident in a nursing home. If you already know someone (like a family member) and have visited on occasion, then dedicate this week to meeting someone new. After you have made your visit this week take some time and begin a journal on your efforts. Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself.
- Who else is visiting them and how often do they come?
- How many people are in the facility where they are living?
- Is their stay permanent or will they be going home?
- What area did you have the biggest struggle with?
- What did you like the best?
- What ideas, plans or feelings changed as a result?
- When will you visit next?