image: Mature Times
So you are a carer. It is a noble undertaking, and one that all too often is a thankless job. Most of us who are or who have been carers do it as an act of love for the ones we hold dear. That is in no way to suggest that it is a selfish act. It is the outgrowth and extension of our love. For some the motivation is an even broader altruism. Jesus said that the second greatest commandment of the Law is to Love your neighbour.
Matthew 22:36 reads, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
For those of us who are the people of God, our love and service to Him is upmost. But Jesus here shows us that we also serve him through the people we serve.
Mother Teresa on several occasions said that when she helped the ill, homeless, or orphaned she was helping Christ in disguise (Matthew 25: 35-40). This attitude is one to be applauded.
But being a carer is not always easy. It can be emotionally draining to see one you care for declining. It is tiring as rest and sleep patterns can be impacted. I have personally had moments in which I felt a failure because I couldn’t see that I was making a difference. The pain and fatigue of my wife is beyond my control. God needed to reassure me on this point. It is my “job” to care. It is He who has the situation in hand.
This message came to me in a random posting on Facebook. I was feeling helpless, as mentioned above. Then someone posted Jeremiah 29:11,
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.”
All my despair was not in His plan. I needed to trust Him. It lifted me to see this.
I then came upon the Sermon on the Mount and looked at it with different eyes. Okay, theologically the applications that I am going to draw are not “primary” meanings, but I put them forward for carers to ponder when the caring is starting to tire you or becoming a bit much.
I will focus today on only two verses from Matthew 5,
³“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus had told His squabbling disciples that the one who would be greatest was the one who made himself the least. Phrased in another way He also said that the first shall be last, and the last first. The servant is the true leader or master. This humility of spirit has its own rewards! “For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
For carers humility of spirit is natural. We lay down our “self” or at least selfishness to aid and prioritise someone else. When you think this (I know it seldom comes to this because we love) is “thankless,” God’s own word tells us that it is recognised! Not only recognised, but rewarded: “For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The following verse is also an encouragement. ⁴”Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Look at the Facebook example above. When we find sorrow at the declining or loss of a loved one, God is on hand. “They will be comforted.” I was by a single verse posted randomly, but it showed God did indeed have a plan. He comforted me in my grief. Mourning is natural when we are suffering loss. It need not be just the loss of life, it may be of time, intimacy, or of routines we have become accustomed. God honours the grief. He honours the caring we do. He cares for the carers.
I will return to this theme and work my way through the rest of the Beatitudes and how they can encourage us carers. Till then let’s remember we are loved and that our caring is appreciated by those we love, and by Him who loves us.
He cares for the carers.