According to Wikipedia, “Pastoral care is an ancient model of emotional and spiritual support that can be found in many cultures and traditions. It has been described in our modern context as individual and corporate patience in which trained pastoral carers support people in their pain, loss and anxiety, and their triumphs, joys and victories.”
This week I got started with my in-home hospice care. We had visits from our CSR, the Director of Nursing, my personal case manager nurse, our social worker and last but not least our chaplain … Bob … all made available through our hospice care. My wife and I were very pleased with every person we met.
Bob spent an hour with us on Thursday and I really like him … an excellent addition to our spiritual family … thank you Lord!
In the course of our conversation, Bob asked the question, “So where is your home church?”
My response, “Since the first of the year, our home church has been northpointonline.tv with Andy Stanley. While we had hoped to get to the new Gwinnett Church, with my recent health, we just haven’t been able to make it.”
Bob then questioned, “So you don’t really have any pastoral care?”
Quite the contrary …
“Yes, I believe I have the best pastoral care available.” And my wife nodded her head in agreement.
And she should know, for no one provides greater spiritual and emotional support for me than my loving wife Sheryl … no more intense prayers are lifted to heaven on my behalf than those of my better half … she is a saint!
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. Proverbs 31:10 (ESV)
(Note: with the exception of my wife, I see the incredible support provided by my family … my children and grandchildren, my folks, my sister, brother-in-law and niece … outside the scope of pastoral care. They provide absolutely essential love, care and support that I am extremely thankful for and could not do without).
I have brothers IN Christ like Corban and Joe and John and Cecil and Jay and Ben and Frank who have been personally traveling this life journey with me for 10-15 years plus in a small group setting and beyond … we have journeyed through pain, loss and anxiety, and triumphs, joys and victories together. In fact, on far more than one occasion one or more of these men have lifted me up when I just couldn’t get up on my own in the midst of this cancer journey. Primarily they build me up spiritually … but they have shared my emotional burdens … hey, they have even cut my grass.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (ESV)
Then in recent years I have been blessed to see a former boss and friend of 35 years, Jim, added to this band of brothers who does the exact same thing ministering to me and my family both spiritually and emotionally covering us in prayers …
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 (ESV)
Finally long-time co-workers (36 years) and believers Stacy and Steve offer the same encouragement, support and care … and so many more at work … too many to number and name are reaching out to me.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (ESV)
All these people and more praying for me … all these people and more calling and visiting me … all these people offering to help my wife and I in any way they can …
The love of Christ comes through all these beloved friends in deed and in truth (1 John 3:16) …
I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.‘ Matthew 26:36-40 (ESV)
And lest I forget when it comes to pastoral care … the Lord is my Shepherd …
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23 (ESV)
Yes, the best pastoral care available!
Thank you Lord … thank you brothers and sisters IN Christ … thank you friends!