The calling to serve Baptist Homes & Healthcare Ministries is a stewardship rather than a position. As a steward, one has the responsibility to ensure the proper resources are available, and the return is pleasing to the master. The root of the Latin word “resource” surgere, is the same as the word for source. Both mean to “arise.” As Christians, we do well to understand our needed resources arise from the Source. No wonder one of the names of God is “Jehovah-Jireh,” which is translated “The LORD Will Provide” (Genesis 22:14).
Longtime readers of the monthly The Baptist Home Newsletter have likely seen the “Campus Needs” sidebars. Not only do these provisions provide a blessing to our residents, but each gift provides a tangible connection to the local church. However, the greatest needs of this ministry cannot be purchased from Amazon, Walmart or any other store. The greatest gift is prayer. The disciples did not ask Jesus “teach us to preach” or “teach us to do miracles.” They asked the Lord to teach them to pray!
The late Billy Graham wrote, “Prayer serves a dual purpose: the blessing of man and the glory of God.” He went on to write, “If it were not for the prayers of thousands of God’s people throughout the world, our ministry would completely fail.” To compare the reach of Baptist Homes & Healthcare Ministries to Billy Graham’s ministry would be, well, a reach. However, for the widow who needs a home or for the family no longer able to safely care for a loved one, the ministry of Baptist Homes is one that must not fail.
Paul spoke to Timothy about four types of communications with God: 1) petitions, 2) prayers, 3) intercessions and 4) thanksgivings (I Timothy 2:1 CSB). Petitions are specific requests within a certain situation. A timely example of a petition would be “Heavenly Father, please guide Baptist Homes’ leaders to God-called men and women to serve in the current nursing openings.” Prayer is more general, such as “Father, please bless the residents, families and staff of the Baptist Homes and help them to please and honor You in all they do.” Intercession is the pleading or imploring to God on someone else’s behalf. “Lord Jesus, be with the residents who have suffered much isolation during this pandemic and grant them protection from the coronavirus.” Thanksgiving is expressing gratitude for God’s provisions. “Lord, thank you for 108 years of serving the needs of the aging. Thank you for restoring Baptist Homes to the Missouri Baptist Convention family of ministries.”
Finally, pray that our residents would embody the prayer of lifelong service from Psalm 71:18:
Even while I am old and gray,
God, do not abandon me,
while I proclaim your power
to another generation,
your strength to all who are to come.