Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Peace Perfect Peace"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 25:40 – I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. (NIV)
At one point some years ago, there were about 85 volunteers at our local Long Term Care Centre who went there on a regular basis to help out, mostly to assist those residents who like to be involved in the programs, but are not able to manage on their own. Some of the volunteers are there to be physically involved, while others come to visit, to help in hymn sings, or to assist in spiritual talks and the weekly worship service.
But over the years, many of the volunteers have reached the age where they can't help out any more. Now in this day and age, many younger people have to work until they reach retirement age, and when they do retire, they want to spend time with their families. The result is that the number of volunteers at the local nursing home is now down to about 40 or so.
There is also the problem that not all of us are able to relate to older people in various states of disability. I read an article about this very subject, which stated, "Looking after the aged has never been a popular pastime." Not too many people are interested in how the aged spent their younger years so many decades ago.
The Bible is a great source of information as to how people lived centuries ago, and aging was a problem at the time of Jesus as well. As He was preparing His disciples to go out and preach the gospel, He told them that there would be tough times ahead of them. Particularly, He told strong, young Peter that things would change for him, too:
John 21:18 – I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go. (NIV)
Jesus told Peter, and us, that as we get older, we might not be able to dress ourselves or go where we want to go. We might be taken to do things in which we have no interest at all. There may come a time when we are totally dependent upon others to look after our every need.
In these days when people are living so much longer, it is good to know that there are many opportunities to volunteer in long term care centres to look after the residents' needs, both physical and spiritual.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You for the words of Scripture in which Jesus reminded His followers that they would not always be able to look after themselves. We thank You for all who are involved in this important work, and we pray that more Christians will volunteer to help out. We offer this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.