Yesterday, I did something that was difficult for me. I resigned from the nursing home ministry at my church. I started preaching in a local area assisted living facility about a year ago because my pastor said in a sermon that if you had the desire in your heart to preach that you should start out in the nursing home ministry. “They’ll listen to you,” he said with a chuckle, and he was right.
The nursing home ministry has been such a blessing. I’ve grown so much as a result. I used to hate nursing homes and had little-to-no compassion for the elderly people who lived in them.
God opened my heart and helped me to see the nursing home residents as the real people they are, and he taught me what it meant to actually minister to people in a service format rather than do a little dog and pony and Jesus show that I thought was touching and meaningful.
I’ve grown to love the small group of people who attended the little church services that I lead at the nursing home, and I didn’t really want to say good-bye to them.
It’s So True
Remember that song by Boyz II Men? If 1993 was one of your formative years as it was one of mine, then you probably remember hearing it played to excess on the radio and television: It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday. It’s so true.
My brain gives heartburn and acid reflux a run for their money when it comes to bringing up things from the past. We all have memories, but when we dwell on them and allow past failures or successes to define us, we can miss out on God’s best for our present.
My wife and I have felt God calling us to simplify our lives and to focus on what we clearly hear God telling us is important which is, first and foremost, our family. The nursing home ministry was important to me, and I know that God had been using me in that ministry, but I knew that God was telling me to lay it down.
My pride was the only thing that kept making me question whether I should really stop preaching in the nursing home. I love to preach, and I kept thinking, “I’ve only been doing this a year. I hate to quit already!” It’s so hard to say good-bye…yup, but it was time.
Obedience Means Peace
Obedience in the little things and the big things are both critical when it comes to living a peace-filled life. That’s a lesson that I am blessed to have learned. I knew that if I wasn’t obedient and didn’t resign my post at the nursing home, that I would struggle in some way.
God wouldn’t be punishing me for preaching in a nursing home. That’s ridiculous. He may have lifted the grace and favor that he had given me in putting together the messages and being away from my family the majority of two weekends every month though, and that would have been enough to turn this ministry opportunity into just plain work.
Why would God lift his grace for this ministry? Because he has something else in mind for me, and wants to guide me toward that new direction.
Excited For The Future
God has a great plan for me and my family, and he has a great plan for you. I don’t know what he’s doing in calling us to this simplified life. It may be a correction that he’s bringing; leading us to a lifestyle that he’s always been calling us to live but that we’ve been too stubborn to accept. Or, he may be preparing us for a “new frontier” in our lives where we’ll need more time available. We are waiting to adopt a new baby from somewhere within the U.S., and when we get that call, it will mean that we’ll definitely need to put almost everything on hold when he or she enters into our life.
Bottom line: I don’t care what it is. I just know that living “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:7-18) is way better than living in yesterday.