Faith Comes By Hearing…So Let’em Hear

There are times once or twice a month when I have the opportunity to go into a nursing home and deliver a message for their Sunday service. I spend a great deal of time in prayer and study to prepare these messages. I take them seriously and, for the most part, so do the residents of the nursing home. There are usually anywhere from fifteen to thirty in attendance at these worship services. I look forward to going and delivering these messages. It would seem, for the most part, that the residents look forward to me coming to share a God given message with them. These particular days make for a long Sunday for me but I enjoy them. I get up and go to church Sunday morning to worship and serve in my home church. Afterwards, I eat a light meal and leave early to go to the nursing home to visit with residents to remind them that services will be beginning within the hour. I also visit with those whom I know are unable to attend and spend some time with them in prayer. They are very appreciative of this time I spend with them.

Sometimes, when I mention to others that I am going to a nursing home to deliver a message I get comments from people who think that it’s cute that I do so. One person even made the comment that preaching at a nursing home is good “practice” for me! Well, I beg to differ with them. I am not “practicing” to preach in a pulpit in a church. I am preaching from the pulpit in a church, THEIR church. These services are the only means of worship that they have. That, in my thinking, is just as important as the message spoken from the pulpit in my church. Merely because they are old, confined to wheelchairs,  and are living in a nursing home does not decrease their value as a believer nor does it decrease the importance of their worship. To the contrary, I believe that it is just as important as any service that we attend every Sunday.

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (NASB 97)

So is their faith any less important than that of any one else? I think not. I do not minister to these people because I feel sorry for them or because I’m trying to impress them, or anyone else for that matter. I minister to them because no one else will. I promised God that when He opened the door of opportunity to minister to others that I would do my best to recognize the opportunity and take advantage of it for the benefit of His Kingdom. I speak the words of Christ so that their faith may flourish.

Please do not misconstrue my words as being bitter or self serving. It inflames my senses and passions when someone devalues people because of their age, infirmities, or disabilities. I am somewhat hurt when people imply that my message or service is not up to par because I serve an elderly demographic. But you know what? I’m wrong for that and I ask God’s forgiveness. Those elderly people are just as important to God as any of us are. They deserve the best message and service that I can provide for them just as any congregation does from their pastor. I seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit for topics, direction in study and practice to bring forth what I have been given to share. Is it any less important because these people are in such a physical state that their families can no longer provide care for them at home?

Ministering to the elderly in a nursing home is an honor. I have ministered to their physical needs as a nurse for years. Now, I am blessed to also minister to their spiritual needs as well. You know what? It feels GOOD!

Am I practicing for a pastorate? No! Am I preaching second rate services? No, I don’t believe so. They deserve excellence and by grace I deliver to the extent of my God given abilities. It is not my intention to toot my own horn for I truly do not have a horn to toot on. However, when someone makes a comment in regards to a service to a demographic of elderly people as if they are a lower class then I must make the necessary correction. I’ve come to realize that it’s not so much what someone may think of me or the services that I conduct, but rather it’s about those for whom I conduct those services. The elderly have value in God’s eyes. I would think that believers would understand that. After all, if God graces us to live long enough we will, one day, become elderly. How would we want the Body of Christ to perceive us then?

God Bless you all!

In His Grip,

Lonnie Richardson

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