Diamonds in the Rough
I have always had a passion for reaching people that are often forgotten, including the homeless, the orphans, the widows, and especially the elderly in nursing homes and assisted living centers. I looked up several definitions for “diamond in the rough” and this definition fits perfectly for what is in my heart for these precious elderly people.
Diamond in the rough: A person or thing with exceptional qualities or characteristics that cannot be seen from the surface.
God’s precious elderly in nursing homes and assisted living centers are often forgotten about even by their own families. They are “hidden” out of sight and often out of mind for family members that check them in never to come visit them again. When your mind is not stimulated with conversation, learning, and being in an environment that fosters God’s love, people can very easily fall into depression, anxiety, fear, loneliness, and abandonment. However, we as the body of Christ are called to go into the whole world and tell people the good news about Jesus and show His love with our actions.
For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me.
I went on a visit to Dallas this week to visit my grandma in an assisted living center (first pic), and she was sitting by herself in the cafeteria dining hall when I arrived. In fact, there were many other residents there that were also sitting by themselves, and it broke my heart. My grandma, like many others there, suffers from Alzheimer’s and often forgets what she says even one minute prior.
As I sat with my grandma and simply observed these precious residents eating by themselves, I walked over to a woman named Dorothy, (second pic), and I asked if I could sit with her for a moment. Her eyes lit up and said, “sure”! I asked if she often sat by herself and she said, “all the time”. She said I’ve been here for three years and no one comes to visit me. I offered her prayer and she was so grateful and it put a huge smile on her face! The saving grace behind her story was she knew and loved Jesus. She said, “He’s always with me, but it would be nice to have some company”.
Then the just and upright will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and gave You food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You?
I thought to myself how many people are sitting in their rooms with no one to visit them, and how lonely they must feel. The truth is without Jesus in their heart they would continue to be lonely for eternity being separated from God if they passed on never hearing about His love and forgiveness.
This community is a population that is very easy to love on, learn from, and talk to about Jesus. Most of the people I have talked with in my eight years of experience visiting nursing homes and hospitals are very blunt about their faith. They will say very quickly their views and stance on Jesus.
Lastly, I want to highlight my aunt Jenifer as a beacon of God’s light, love, and commitment to my grandma! She handles every detail for her mom, and regularly visits her after long hours at work at least 3 days a week! She picks her up for church, takes her to the zoo, museums and other fun outings! She prays and talks with anyone she comes into contact with being a very popular person there! It’s so easy to think about our “own” family and our “own” needs, but Jesus commands us to help the “least of these”. The least of these means people that can’t help themselves or are in very tough situations that need God’s unconditional love.
We need to have a desire to extend our hands and voices much further. I highly encourage this as a “mission field” to reach souls if you are looking for a place to be Jesus’ hands and feet. Can you imagine if only three to four people went daily to assisted living centers and simply sat in the cafeteria to offer prayers or a listening ear to these amazing people?
The act of simply showing up and infusing the atmosphere with God’s love would soften hearts for Jesus! There are many people retiring now in their early 60’s that could easily take this mission field on and win a huge harvest of souls and spread Jesus’s love to those who are lonely, need healing, and need the saving knowledge of Christ!
And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least in the estimation of men of these My brethren, you did it for Me.
This may not be your mission field, but it’s a mission field that’s often not thought of as one. I wanted to highlight the elderly that don’t have a voice, so maybe you could go and be God’s voice to them. Let’s think bigger, open our arms bigger, and take bigger steps towards those that can’t step outside of their environment. Let’s love God’s “diamonds in the rough” to make them shine and smile like they did in their twenties!
Written by: Hilary Lynne
Published on 6/23/2017