James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Caregivers are the most undervalued people that we can ever encounter. Over the past twenty five years, I've seen many caregivers who look after their spouses, their parents, or their special needs children and I have marveled at their patience, their commitment, and their love. I know that sometimes they feel worn down and in need of care for themselves. I'm also aware that some of them don't feel appreciated by those to whom they give all of their time, energy, and love.
Most caregivers experience a lot of stress, especially those who look after elderly parents. Age does not come on its own at times, and where disability or dementia are evident, the caregiver usually bears the brunt of their loved one’s frustration, bitterness, and hostility.
When I read today’s verse from James 3, it made me think about the many caregivers that I know who try to be peace-loving, submissive, considerate, and full of mercy. Their service to the person who needs care is remarkable; their dedication to a complaining loved one is courageous. If ever Jesus could have added another beatitude to His sermon on the mount, it should have been this one: Blessed are the care givers for they also will be given care.
Churches are good places where caregivers can find friends who support them, other members who pray for them, and compassionate people who love them. A good congregation knows who the caregivers are in their church; a loving congregation continues to offer caregivers support, respite, and above all sincere affection and encouragement to sustain them.
Questions for personal reflection
Who are the caregivers in my family and congregation? How am I/ can I support them effectively and sincerely?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, today we pray for the caregivers in our community who sometimes feel isolated and forgotten, overwhelmed and anxious. Bless them, encourage them, strengthen them, and give peace to them in the midst of their burdens and pressure. Keep them close to Your heart and enable us to give care to them when they need it most and expect it the least. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor at Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask a question about today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest drawings called “Secret Dancer.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2895/14038380245_29919ca86e_b.jpg