The Best Stewardship of Time
One of the greatest gifts that is given to a pastor is time to care. Since it is our job to visit the sick and homebound in our congregations, we have time as part of our work to care for others. Sometimes it may mean we do not care as well for our family as we should, but we do get time to be nurturing.
That is indeed a real gift. Sometimes I think how hard it is for those with jobs that have such a different focus to find time to be nurturing and to care for those around them. That is why I am so unbeleivably grateful for all the calls and cards that I have gotten during my recent illness. I know that the people who sat down and sent those cards or called me took time out of their busy lives to do something that is often uncomfortable. Think about someone who is sick. It makes people uncomfortable because they feel powerless to fix the situation.
If you ever feel powerless when someone is sick, then you do not know the power of attention and care and prayer. I count any day a blessing on which I get more calls or cards than hosiptal and doctor bills. And I have been incredibly blessed.
I have had more than my share of illness lately, and someone said to me that my story sounded like the Book of Job. But the more I thought about that, the more I wanted to refute it. Job lost his family, whereas mine has rallierd around me. Job's friends tried to figure out why he deserved his misery, but I have an entire congregation taking care of me and praying for me. In fact I have people all over the world praying for me.
One of the greatist gifts you can give someone is to be there when they are not well. It is hard sometimes but it is priceless. Don't worry so much about saying the wrong thing. Sure, you actually might say something insesitive. Your relationship will weather that much better than it will weather your absence in their time of need.
Luther called it the mutual consolation of the brothers and sisters. I call it the best stewardship of time. But for many people it does mean shifting gears from a busy high powered existence to doing something that seems to have little to show for it, until you are on the receiving end of the care. And you know how much it all means.
Christ stood at the grave of Lazarus and wept with Mary and Martha before he raised Lazarus. Resurrection begins with empathy and care.
God bless all of you as you continue to be Christ in this world.
Copyright © 2007, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St.
Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warwick, RI. A lifelong Lutheran, she
came to ordained ministry after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric
intensive care. She graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at
Philadelphia in 1998 and served 4 ½ years in Upstate New York before
becoming a New Englander. She is still trying to understand the
accent. While in the Upstate New York Synod she chaired the Stewardship
Team. That began her fascination with what makes stewards -- and more,
what makes for generosity. She has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of
life she learned from them.