"Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others. God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly." - Romans 12:4-8
Thoughts for Today
If you are caring for aging loved ones, be prepared to help them to refrain from dwelling on what they no longer have or no longer can do, but to see the opportunities still available to them to use their gifts. Suggest some positive things they can do. Here are a few sample ideas:
- They can encourage others to grow in Christ through their examples and words.
- They can pray for others.
- Churches can help by asking them to serve on a team that sends cards and makes phone calls to the sick and shut-ins. Churches can also glean from the older people's wisdom and experience by pairing them up with youth, inviting them to exchange phone calls and prayer requests. Encourage the youth to visit their elderly partner.
- Grandparents can invite their grandchildren to help do a scrapbook of memories, providing a wonderful way for the youngsters to learn more about their heritage and to be taught and influenced by their grandparents.
- Ask your parents for advice on something in your life.
- If they are living in a facility with other elderly people, encourage them to start a Bible study or prayer group.
Consider this . . .
Pray about ideas like these to suggest to your parents. When you start thinking about positive opportunities for them, you may be surprised how many ideas surface. Help them choose to make this a positive season of their lives. It is important not to focus on losses, but to concentrate on Jesus, knowing that he will enable us (and our parents) to still serve him . . . and to bless others.
Father, help my parents and me to discover creative ways they can still use the gifts you've given them. Fill them with hope and enthusiasm. In Jesus' name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from . . . Caregiving: Caring for Aging Parents by Charles Puchta. The purpose of this curriculum is to provide hope and direction to those concerned about the health and well-being of aging parents or an ill spouse or relative. We address predominate issues most families face. Each session is designed to discuss a specific area of concern such as the purpose of a caregiver or end-of-life planning. It will become clear to participants that the Bible provides encouragement and direction to help them through this caregiving journey. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a study for individuals or couples.
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