geriatric discipleship – part one

the lord is irritatingly resolute (of course, i meant to say “completely faithful”) in teaching me the things that matter most in my life–things like servanthood.  in fact, the lord is so ruthless (of course, i meant to say “steadfast”) that sometimes i wish he would give both of us a break.

i recall reading bill hybels’ commentary on philippians 2:4 where he described “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”  he told of falling into bed at the end of a long, exhausting day only to be awakened in the middle of the night by a crying infant.  hybels writes, “as i awakened, my instinct was to lay very still and pretend i was asleep so lynn would have to get up and deal with him.”  i finally found something i have in common with hybels: self-centeredness.

speaking of god’s quest to make me spiritual…

sometimes my marriage feels like a ufc cage match where i am beaten into submission (of course, i meant to say “my marriage is like fertile soil where the seeds of servanthood germinate and grow”).  my wife is an exceedingly generous and understanding human. still, though, my home is the hardest place in the world for me to practice “consider others better than yourself.”   in fact, all of the “one another” commands in scripture apply to my wife.  why is it easier for me to be kind and patient with other believers, but not my wife?  she is a believer, too.

the fact that servanthood is so difficult to develop points to its importance.

and now the lord has placed another amazing servanthood opportunity into my life: taking care of my elderly father-in-law.  he is 89 years old and until a few weeks ago, he lived by himself on an acreage in the country.  recently, my father-in-law has been showing signs of dementia and his doctor says it is not safe for him to live by himself, so we moved him into our guest bedroom.  naturally, he hates it.  he would prefer to be in his home, among his friends, and attending his church. and, of course, he thinks he is just fine.

but if this task were easy, there would be no value in it.

so i prepare meals and watch old western movies on television and have the same conversation, over and over again.  and i can literally feel the lord stretching me and molding me. as each day passes, there is a surreal sense of destiny that surrounds the most mundane tasks, and i am surprised by my capacity to rejoice in this opportunity to serve my father-in-law.  in fact, as my father-in-law digresses and the situation becomes increasingly inconvenient, i am confident i will find the grace to rely on the lord.

as long as he continues to stomp the self out of me (of course, i meant to say “lovingly transform”).


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