“What is the value of caring for terminally ill patients?” This question was posed to me by a Christian. At the time my response was that the caregiver is afforded the opportunity to become a servant to the patient. Being in that role, has given me a new appreciation for the lessons to be learned while caring for the terminally ill. These lessons have implications for our work in striving to reach the lost of this world, who are terminally ill spiritually.
Caring for a person in declining health is an exercise in compassion. The caregiver is reminded of the frailty of life, and that we all need compassion from others. If we ever find ourselves terminally ill we will want someone to care for us with the compassion of our Lord. Jesus’ compassion for the physical condition of man is seen repeatedly in the gospel accounts. One of my favorites is when He raised the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-15). The grief stricken mother had lost her only son, and faced a lonely uncertain future. Jesus’ act of compassion had a profound impact on people.
Our Lord’s greatest compassion was for the spiritual condition of man. He expressed His compassion for the lost souls of Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37. Compassion for man’s lost condition is what brought Him to earth to die on the cross. The benefits of that sacrifice, while available to all, are not universally applied. The universalist points to John 3:16, but forgets to mention the verses which follow. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). God expects people to acquire the knowledge of His will, and then they must obey God’s teachings. Christians are responsible to make the will of God known to the lost. Greater compassion is needed to get the life giving message of Jesus to the lost of this world.
Perhaps the greatest lesson is the blessing of service and self-sacrifice. In caring for a terminally ill individual the caregiver has to make the patient the primary focus of their life. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). While the worldly minded may consider caring for the terminally ill to be a burden, the Christian learns that it is truly a blessing to be a servant to someone in a time of great need.
We live in a world surrounded by people who are spiritually terminal. As children of God the greatest service we can provide to a lost soul is sharing the saving message of the cross of Christ with them. We must become more zealous in our efforts to reach the lost both here at home and abroad. We cannot become indifferent for any reason. The world is lost and as God’s people we have the only answer to the all pervasive problem of sin. That answer must be shared in every way possible. It requires that every Christian become a servant. It requires that we set aside our fears and doubts and tell anyone who will listen about Christ and His kingdom.
Caring for a terminally ill person teaches patience and perseverance. Days run into one another, weeks and even months pass with little change. Just a slow downward progression toward the inevitable end. Patience is required to give the proper care and attention to the patient even when they become combative and resistant. Perseverance is needed to see it through.
The sin sick are often resistant and sometimes can be combative. Christians cannot allow those who oppose the truth to discourage their efforts. We are told to persevere to, “not grow weary in well doing” (Galatian 6:9). We are to be “zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). Evangelists are to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). People who are spiritually ill, like the physically ill, are unaware of their true condition until it is made clear to them. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Without the blood of Christ cleansing us from sin we would all be lost. We must patiently and persistently teach the lost about Jesus. (by Scott Richards, Taken from Richards Newsletter, Volume 1, Number 3, June 2022.)