Monday, July 6, 2015

The Privilege to Care

PASTORS know it is a blessing, an honour, a privilege to care.
We care not so much for those who have life-altogether-thank-you-very-much. These people don’t need our care. They don’t need our care, yet.
I learned in AA that “yet” is a very important word. “You’re eligible, too!” is what it means. It goes along with the saying, “It’ll never happen to me.” We just never know when and why and how we will need care. Until then we never realise its importance.
Pastors know how important care is. Not just those who are called “pastors,” for there is some wolves in the sheepfold, and I am not thinking of particular persons; just it’s a fact. Sadly, not everyone is who they appear to be.
But the pastor knows they exist to care.
Sure, a pastor is also possibly a preacher, but their core role is to care — and by their fruit we shall know them!
The ‘Fruit’ of Care
Only when we are tested do we find out what our true mettle is.
Privileged to care, there is a great sense of purpose in the person who knows they are in the right place at the right time to care. There is often the perception of anointing — the felt experience of “God has placed me right here, for now, for this exact purpose.” What is felt can be something akin to that goose bumps feeling.
We cannot take any credit for being faithful in such a moment, because we are blessed to be there. Rather than taking credit, we can only be silently thankful.
The fruit of care is initiated by the times we go forth by faith, trusting in the leading of God’s Holy Spirit, when we might be otherwise conflicted; there are other distractions, perhaps. Then, the fruit of care is known by the comparatively rare experience of being a powerful instrument in the hand of God for the vulnerable.
They are loved, accepted, supported, affirmed, urged on and encouraged, and in receipt of kindness and compassion — in ways that they, alone, define.
Those we care for are Jesus Christ, himself — they are the “least of these.” (See Matthew 25:40, 45) It is always a privilege to care for the Lord, just as he would (and does) care for us.
It is how we tell if people are “pastors” or not: that they feel privileged to care.
But it is not only pastors who feel privileged to care; any true Christian will feel it is a blessing and an honour to serve the needy. And, honestly, we are all only one significant circumstance away from being a needy person.
What a wonder it is to love,
What a blessing a burden to bear,
To honour someone’s needs,
What a privilege it is to care.
To care is to love, accept, support, affirm, urged on, encourage, buoy up, to convey kindness, and shower with compassion. It is a privilege to care.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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