So then, while we [as individual believers] have the opportunity, let us do good to all people [not only being helpful, but also doing that which promotes their spiritual well-being], and especially [be a blessing] to those of the household of faith.Galatians 6:10
I read a story today about a man who was about 75 years old. He has developed dementia. He and his wife attend the church that they have attended for about ten years. The man still sits in his regular place in church. He still greets those around him during the welcoming time. He can no longer put together words into a coherent sentence. This gentleman still attends the monthly men’s breakfast. Not too long ago, he indicated that he had something to say at the breakfast. He stood. For about two minutes, he spoke a string of incoherent sentences. The men at the breakfast leaned forward, fixed their eyes upon him, and listened respectfully. After he finished speaking, the men at his table affirmed him by saying that they were thankful for him, that he was a good man, how the church wouldn’t be what it was if it weren’t for him, that they loved him.
What a beautiful gift these men gave to their brother in Christ! They valued him, loved him, and treated him with the dignity due to him as a human being created in the image of God.
There are those among us who also must be loved well. How can we let them know that they are important to our church family? What can we do to facilitate a way to love, visit, care for, meet the needs of, encourage those within our body?
I recently went by to visit a lady from our church who suffers from a painful genetic disease. It has affected her vision. She is no longer able to work. I regret that it took me so long to go to her home. She is a delightful woman, and I was blessed by my time with her. I’m sure that she is not the only person in our church family who is isolated, home-bound, and lonely. Who else is in her situation?
We have older widows and widowers among us. Their husbands and/or wives are gone. They may be unable to drive. Their children or other family members care for them as they are able, though time may be limited. These elderly ones too may be isolated, home-bound, and lonely.
There are families in our body who have children with learning differences or with physical handicaps. Their lives can be full of never-ending responsibilities. How can we come alongside them?
- Who else is there?
- What are their needs?
- Are they in a life group?
- Can they still attend church or are they at home?
- How can we identify those we need to encourage and help to flourish?
- What can we do individually or in small groups to help them thrive?
We are doing some of this well. We have the yearly Night to Shine, a beautiful event, where we honor those with physical or intellectual differences. We have prayer requests published to advise us of hospitalizations, surgeries, and other physical difficulties. We care for those in our life groups.
I think that God would have us to do even better. Jesus prayed for us to be one so that the world may believe that God sent Jesus. What a beautiful testimony to the beauty, love and glory of God if we can allow Him to work in our midst in such a way that we all love each other well through our acts of kindness to one another.