A blog about everything about teaching the Bible. "And still I will show you a more excellent way..." (1 Corinthians 12:31).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Harvest is Where the Hurt Is!

Alright, I'm going to begin getting back into this blog, having taken a break from it for a while to try to focus my time on writing my third book. I'm still in progress on that, but I'm going to try to get back to blogging here once a week or so.

Today's thought is about my experiences this morning, and an exhortation, of sorts flowing from it.

A sister in Christ who is also an in-law recently informed me that a relative of hers, also a member of the congregation I used to preach for, is now living in an assisted-living facility in the area, and would like me to visit her. So, this morning I did.

My wife and I sat with her in her room and talked for a little while. She suffers from dimentia, and recognized my face, but couldn't remember me otherwise. Nevertheless, I could tell the company was good for her. I commented with approval about the Bible that was sitting on the table right next to her, and encouraged her about the care she is receiving, and concerning the love her family has for her, and that my wife and I have for her. I think it was as worthy of my time as anything under the sun I could have been doing.

Interestingly, on the way into the facility, I had also recognized another lady who had been a member of a congregation I formerly worked with. I had taught the Bible class her great-grandson was part of, and had tried to be an influence for Christ in his life on a number of occasions over the years. Unfortunately, as a young man he fell under the influence of the wrong crowd and is currently in prison.

On the way out, my wife and I approached this sweet lady, who was sitting alone in the common area, and said hello. She recognized me almost at once, and was bubbling over with excitement as we spoke together. We talked for a little while, and her words quickly moved toward the current state of affairs of her great-grandson, of her love and concern for him, and of her joy at his apparent spiritual improvement in prison. I promised her that I will come see her again in a couple of weeks (Lord willing) and at that time get his new address and write to him myself, that I might encourage him in his faith.

As I walked out toward the van, I was full of joy that a simple visit to the "nursing home" had provided several occasions to serve and glorify Christ. Now, here's the exhortation: To anyone who is searching for a way to serve Christ, know that the hospitals, nursing facilities, orphan's homes, and prisons are full of lonely people that would very much love some encouragement. Jesus said:

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'" (Matthew 25:35-40 ESV).


Today I visited with Jesus and comforted him. As I did, he opened another door of opportunity. I plan to become much more faithful in visiting that assisted living facility (which happens to be church-sponsored). If all I do is bring the comfort of Christ into some of those dear souls' lives; good. However, it does seem to be the case that the old saying is true: "the Spirit moves in mysterious ways." I'm confident that this service will open doors into yet more service, and that the King will receive the glory. I hope everyone reading this will decide to become an encourager to the old and infirm, orphaned, or the imprisoned. The harvest is where the hurt is!
---JLP