We gathered tonight around a hospital bed with a dear friend on hospice. We held his hand; shared words of affirmation and then began to sing songs of praise with him. John and Mary turned an ordinary living room into a piece of heaven. Angels gathered in that room, around this special man through the gift of their ministry and music. One chord at a time, one note, one lyric moved everyone in that room one step closer to God. I watched tears flow from eyes of those gathered not only physically there, but also through the spirit of the community and families they represented. I watched God’s healing hand reach down and touch a dying man’s heart and fill him with peace for his anticipated journey home.
When everyone left, I held his hand, and he shared what an amazing experience it was for the gift of family. With tears in his eyes, he asked; “How can I ever thank them?” I looked deep into his eyes and shared you already did. Your gift; your love; your friendship has touched each and every one of our lives. Your humility to allow us to minister to you is a thanks that we could never repay.
In our lives, we often forget to look at how God is working through us. We feel that we are just going through the motions or doing our job. We never know that God is using us to change this world and make it better. John and Mary kept saying it was nothing for them to come and sing. Yet, it was everything to a man desperately looking for something to believe in that would give him hope for that day. A simple hello; a grateful smile; a helping hand can really be an instrument of the peace and love of God.
I often think of a man named Simon of Cyrene, who was asked to help carry the cross of our savior. What a blessing it is when we get to help others carry their crosses in life. To be able to share with them a word of affirmation or help them out in their time of need. I know for myself; I am humbled and blessed to see how God has presented me the opportunities to experience his love in the gift of this faithful community. In simple acts of service, I am humbled to experience how much I am blessed to have an opportunity to experience and see the face of our loving God.
There is a song that I love to listen to called “Thank You.” Ray Boltz wrote it, and it talks about a dream of going to heaven. Throughout the lyrics, it simply shares how all these people will greet us when we are called home and tell us thank you for being there for the Lord. It is through that ministry or action, that I was able to accept the Lord into my life. It was through you, that my life was changed.
The other night gathered around that bed; my life was changed as I saw the real love of God. My faith grew knowing and believing that the legacy of this man has touched so many with love and affirmation. I watched conversion happening and those gathered came to believe more in the power of HIS love. I left that night with a new perspective, not to take any moment for granted. I have a great and thankful heart of being able to serve. It is through this service I get to say thank for others showing me always the face of God. People like John and Mary who sing His praises, or a loving wife caring for her dying spouse; or a man lying in a bed who will never know all the lives that were touched by his incredible love.
When I look around, I can only say thank you to God for showing me HIS LOVE through the humble service of people like you. As the song says, thank you for being such a vessel of love for the Lord.