Post by Pastor Tim – I had just been arrested, and at the time, the terms of my bail were very unclear. This meant that for a few weeks , I was practically confined to my home without the ability to take my kids to school or to go to church.
It would be anti-climactic to say that I was feeling “down,” but without the close interaction of my church family and friends it was pretty difficult. But then the flurry of visitors came.
It seemed that visitors from all over creation wanted to stop by our house and see me for various reasons. I wasn’t real comfortable with any of these visits, but I didn’t refuse anyone who wanted to stop by our home. Some came to offer their pity and to share in my sorrow. Some came to offer their advice and perspective on the whole situation. And still others (like Job’s friends) came to tell me, in painfully precise detail, just how I was wrong in what I did.
There is one particular visit which really exemplified the Work of Mercy of visiting and remembering though. A middle-aged couple with whom we were friends, asked to come and visit us. We didn’t quite know what to expect, but we invited them to come over anyway.
As they arrived at our home, they came bearing gifts – they had brought dinner! And as we sat down to share in a meal, they did ask how we were doing and gave simple words of encouragement to us. Immediately after dinner though, the man pulled out his guitar and we shared in some hymns/songs, read Scripture together and prayed.
They never really gave their opinion on the situation or tried to give us their advice on how we should proceed. They had simply come to share their bread and to share a church service together right in our home.
As much as we appreciated all of our visits, this particular visit, even in its simplicity pointed us to Christ the most. And I can’t help but think that the man who visited us, who was once in prison himself, remembered Hebrews 13:3, which says,
Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
This passage is undoubtedly referring to Christians who were suffering as a direct result of their faith, but we should be quick to visit and remember any brother or sister in Christ who is suffering for any reason. If you want to learn a simple model of Christian visitation, I would suggest following the example of my two friends. First, provide for the physical or emotional needs that are present. Second (and most important), provide for the spiritual needs that are also present.
And if you don’t know how to provide for spiritual needs, read some Scripture, sing a hymn and pray together. The great news is that you don’t have to be a super-Christian or have a seminary degree to do that. This is a simple act of Christian visitation that God will use more than you can imagine.