Lost Treasures in Nursing Home Ministry – January 2020

Dear Friends,

Greetings of joy and peace to you in this new year. We pray as you negotiate through the bumps and turns of the coming year that you and we here at Christian Concourse will not falter in our allegiance and our trust in Christ. And, that each of us will experience a fresh inspiration and empowerment from our Heavenly Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to redouble our commitment and our effectiveness in the work that God has given each of us to do, whatever that may be. And we thank each of you who help us in so many crucial ways, with your prayers and financial support.

In our travels this past November in Arizona, Dar and I ran across a dear reality of life illustrated in some of the folklore circulated in that part of the country. This reality is a truth concerning elderly Christians that is often overlooked or under-emphasized.

There are many stories of lost gold and silver mines in the southwestern United States. The idea is usually that some old prospector stumbled on the underground riches and died with the knowledge of where in the mountains it is located. Each year people actually go out into the wilderness searching for the forgotten location of the legendary treasure, believing there to be a kernel of truth to the fables. There have been some who died in their pursuit of this earthly wealth.

Here in America we are often too busy with our pursuit of happiness and prosperity to stop and give our attention and our time to fellowship with elderly Christians. We tend to hurry ourselves out of conversation with our aged brothers and sisters for “good” reasons that make our business more important than the godly wisdom we could glean from them. This is so easy to do, especially concerning elderly Christians living in nursing homes. They are not in a position to impose themselves on us and, if they could, they don’t want to do that to us. I wonder if sometimes we are taking advantage of the skills of patience and kindness that they have learned in their walk with our Lord.

You have probably guessed where this is going. Elderly Christian saints are often a gold mine of prayer-life, experience, character, Biblical understanding and faith. As we go about our work in nursing home ministry we often encounter seasoned Christians that are highly polished gems of wisdom. These treasures are a result of many years of relationship with Jesus Christ. And how they long to impart some “spiritual gift” to the younger believers they come in contact with!

One problem with getting to this wonderful store of righteous gold is the mental and physical struggles that we must abide with as we interact with them. These obstacles are like the sagging, broken beams, the rubble and fallen debris, the dangerous, lurking critters that impede our path as we look for the riches in these abandoned mines.

Yes, senior saints are a wealth of wisdom and understanding. Sometimes the payoff is great. Often the benefits are subtle and low-keyed. In the end, if we pay attention, conversations and relationships with the elderly afford us the benefit of the lessons they have learned in the school of hard knocks. Many truths of life can be gleaned and we can avoid some bad mistakes and wrong ways of thinking if we will have a little patience with them and listen. Certainly our lives are busy and our responsibilities are many. But we have to be willing to dig for it when we do get the opportunity to share some time with our older Christian brothers and sisters.

How much better
to get wisdom
than gold!
To get understanding
is to be chosen
rather than silver.
Proverbs 16:16 ESV

Happy Prospecting! Sincerely,

Jerry and Dar Johnson

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