Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
March 3, 2019
Serving Jesus is not complicated
Christians are Jesus people. They believe in
Jesus. They follow Jesus. They worship Jesus. They tell others the good news
that Jesus can save them from their sins and put a new song in their hearts. And they serve Jesus – in a thousand different
Serving Jesus is not complicated. The main thing
to remember is that you must do more than talk about Jesus. Talking is never
enough. Preachers, who talk a lot about Jesus, learn that quickly in pastoral
ministry. No matter how well a preacher may talk, people do not take his words
seriously until they see that he or she “walks like he talks.” Words are simply
words until they become “flesh,” in deeds of love and mercy. Deeds authenticate
So how do you go about serving Jesus? Well, you
don’t wait for the church to ask you to go to Nicaragua as a missionary. You
simply notice the people around you, wherever you are, at home, at work or
elsewhere. You start “seeing” people rather than ignoring them. You stop
thinking constantly about yourself; you think about the people around you. What
are their needs? You ask yourself, is there some way I can help this person or
that person? And that is when you start talking to Jesus, in your mind, asking
him to show you how to “care” about someone whose needs you might be able to
Keep it simple. You are not trying to prevent
someone from having a stroke. A family member, or a colleague at work, may need
a friendly word of encouragement. You can serve Jesus by providing that. People
need encouragement. Encouragement helps us all. So be intentional about
offering it to the people around you.
There are lonely people everywhere. Look for one
whose life you might brighten by some kind gesture. It is so easy to ignore
people. I do it . You do it. I was on my way into a
nursing home to deliver a prayer shawl to a 93-year-old friend. As I walked through
the front door, an old man was standing there, looking out as though he was
expecting someone. I walked past him without making eye contact and without so
much as a nod.
Locating the room of my friend, I presented him
with a beautiful shawl, royal blue, with three white crosses embroidered on it.
I told him how several women had made it, anointed it with oil, and prayed that
God would bless him whenever he draped it around his shoulders. Tears filled
his eyes. I held his hand and prayed with him.
Minutes later, as I am nearing the front
entrance to leave, I notice the old man whom I had ignored is still standing
there, gazing forlornly outside. I felt Jesus nudging me to stop and speak to
him. He seemed startled when I said hello. I asked how he was. He said, “just
fine,” as though he did not want a conversation with me. I made no effort to
move on and said, “Nice weather we are having. Have you lived here long?”
He seemed to relax a bit and replied, in a more friendly tone, “I have lived here about two years,
since my wife died.” I said, “It seems like a nice place to live.” Since he was
still looking outside, I said, “Are you expecting someone to take you for a
ride?” My heart sank as he said slowly, “No, I was just hoping my son would
come by but I guess he is too busy.” I wondered how long he had been standing
at the door, looking for his son.
I knew then I needed to stay a while longer.
There was a bench by the wall so I suggested we sit for a spell. I introduced
myself and soon he was telling me about his career as a civil engineer and how
he had worked in Oklahoma and Virginia and finally retired in Montgomery.
Fifteen minutes later, feeling he was open to it, I asked if I could pray with
him and he said, “I would like that.” When I finished praying, he smiled and
I walked outside, got in my car and sat there
for several minutes, thinking, praying, wondering, almost in tears. Engulfed
with sadness, I breathed a sigh of relief. I almost missed the chance to take a
few minutes and “care” about a lonely old man who was looking for a busy son
who never showed up. I finally composed myself and drove away but not before
saying to the Lord, “If one day I am that old man, in a nursing home, looking
outside and wishing a son would come to see me, please let some old preacher
stop and pray with me.”
So, the next time you are wondering how to serve
Jesus, get in your car and drive out to a nursing home. Any nursing home. There
is one in almost every town and many in the larger cities. You don’t have to
visit a particular person. Just walk in the lobby and look around. Walk down
the halls and smile or speak to the people who are sitting in wheelchairs in
You will see a man with no legs, a woman who no
longer recognizes her own children, a man who looks at you with pleading eyes
and says, “Will you take me home?” In some rooms you will see old people who
have been abandoned, some who have not been touched by a family member or
friend for weeks. You will see some people who are waiting to die and wondering
why it is taking so long.
You don’t have to help them all. Just pick out
one person and care about him or her for a little while. Cheer someone up.
Offer encouragement. Give someone a little hope. Take someone’s hand and offer
a simple prayer. Smile. Relate. Identify. Care!
Stop by the
nurses’ station and interrupt them for 30 seconds. Tell them you really
appreciate the loving care they provide for the patients.
Then, when you
get home and put your head on a pillow, you can pray a prayer like this: “Thank
you Jesus for letting me serve you today.” It really is not complicated. + + +