1 Peter 4:10 "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:"
As a 8 year old boy I used to spend the weekend with my great-grandfather to keep him company after his wife passed away. The weekends with my 'old pawpaw meant several things. First, was WWA wrestling on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Secondly, we would go to my great aunts house where I played with my cousins. Thirdly, we went on Saturday visitation for the church. This time of visitation meant visiting children for church on Sunday, helping around the church house, and visiting the sick and shut-ins. This is where I learned the importance of ministering to God's people who were unable to attend church anymore.
With that said, this evening my family and I went to an assisted living facility where a couple from our church now lives. They have been living in this assisted living facility for about a year and a half now and have been unable to attend church during this time. Prior to their sickness they were faithful to the weekly meetings of the church for several years. One thing that often broke my heart when I was a hospice chaplain was to visit terminal (shut-ins) patient and they tell me, "no one from my church visits anymore." By God's grace I never want that to be said about PHBC.
The reasons why I am glad I carried my children to the assisted living today and the reason you should carry your children to visit shut-ins:
1. It teaches your children that shut-ins are still apart of the local church. Although this couple has been unable to attend the weekly meetings they are still a vital part of the Lord's church. They are vital in the sense they pray for the church and the advancement of the gospel of Christ by PHBC.
2. Your children can learn how saints still persevere in their faith. The dear brother spoke of his continual walk with the Lord, his desire to be in worship, and how he continues to pray for the church daily. The gentleman was ecstatic about the new dvd from our last worship service PHBC, which he will soon get to watch.
3. Your children can learn how to minister by just being there. When we walked in the door both their eyes lite up and smiles came upon their faces. My children's presence was priceless, which brought much joy and happiness to their day. Your children can encourage shut-ins in ways you will never known.
4. Your children can learn how a husband is to care for and love his wife until death do them part. Although I try and demonstrate this before them daily with their mother, my boys got to hear and see how this gentleman is loving his wife until the end. The gentleman is able to go home and live, but his wife is not. Therefore, he decided to live unselfishly in the facility with his wife. What a picture of Christ and his church!
5. Your children can learn sacrificial giving by visiting shut-ins. My children learned this evening that life is not all about them. They learned that being a Christian is a life of sacrificial giving, particularly of their time. But they also learned the importance of serving other Christians.
In closing, as usual, I left the there more blessed than the couple I visited. I believe my children sensed the same blessing by being able to minister to this shut-in couple. How do I know? This precious couple was the conversation for most of our evening.
What about you? How often do you minister to the shut-ins in your church? Do take your children to visit and minister to them? Does your church have ways set up to minister to shut-ins?