Last Saturday while having my devotions my phone rang. I glanced at it just to make sure the call wasn’t an emergency, and saw it was an older saint who I’d not seen in quite some time.
Later that morning I returned the call to see what she needed…….
it turns out that she was simply lonely.
Part of my local ministry is what some call “shut-in visitation.” These are individuals who because of their health, or situation either cannot leave home, or leave very rarely. Thankfully they have family to care for them, but often nobody else ever comes to visit.
I came by the lady who called Tuesday morning and we just spent some time in her living room remembering the goodness of God in her life. We’d actually met when she went through the unfortunate experience of having a foot amputation in 2019. Immediately following this, she spent some time with her sister (a member of the church) since she couldn’t get around on her own.
It was during that time I would come and visit her a few times each week to read Scripture, pray, and fellowship.
Since that time she got strong enough to go home, but had multiple physical setbacks. These included a stroke and two slight heart attacks. At this point, she is only able to get around with a wheelchair.
The honest truth is this lady was in need of a friend…..
And I wasn’t there for her!
Of course it wasn’t that I didn’t want to visit her. But the busyness of life kept me from making the time to come visit. Sitting in her home I apologized for not being there, and promised to do a better job in the future.
That experience reminded me one of the greatest doors of ministry is to the homebound, or as I call them “the forgotten”.
That name is meaningful because it’s so easy like me to become busy with our daily tasks, and completely forget they are there (without meaning to). In extreme cases, we only repent of this once they have passed away. The correct response to this is to make the forgotten a priority in our ministry.
This is best done through a personal visit of course. But there are other ways to let them know they aren’t forgotten
- A text message (or better yet voice note) in the early morning hours
- A phone call just to check in
- A card
- A video chat (many of them know how to use smartphones)
- Or a small gift
Of course, the most important thing is just being there.
I have an eighty-year-old lady who I’ll visit every Thursday. She tells me that she will watch the road coming from Barrouallie down to her community for my car. Even if it isn’t Thursday, she’ll sit on the porch waiting for me to come!
Life is incredibly busy, and it just keeps getting busier.
But taking an hour for an elderly saint is an incredible ministry.
It may not seem like much to you, but it will mean the world to them!