June 14, 2018 @ 4:58 PM

We like to be entertained.  Fortunately, Scripture calls for it as part of balanced living (e.g., “A cheerful heart is good medicine ..." (Prov 17:22).  Abundant evidence from social sciences shows its benefits.

Thus, it is right that groups and individuals that visit nursing homes should sing to residents or engage in other activities such as a travelogue or slide show, arts/crafts, demonstration of a hobby, skits, comedy, an interpretive dance, or an instrumental recital.  Good show!    Just so you know, Diana was not made up this way when she was on TV.

Entertainment is commendable as far as it goes.  But should not followers of Christ do more than entertain?  Of course we should, and we can.  Why should we?

Think of it this way: Suppose you are in a nursing home dayroom singing to 15 residents, each of whom looks on with rapt attention.  They appear to be relaxed, attentive, and blessed inwardly.  Are they?  What makes you think so?  The frail man who still looks handsome has a never-ending smile to mask deep hurt and anger; the woman with the bright-colored lap blanket gives the impression that she is “really digging it” as she nods rhythmically to the music, an artifact of her meds; the lady next to her raises her face upward as if seeing a vision but it is a hallucination that she fights away by grinning at it.  And what about their 85 on-site neighbors?

Christians who are serious about helping others can bring the healing power of Christ, promised in the Word and delivered through us under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  The help must address the specific needs of a particular person.  One size does not fit all.  One may need to hear the Good News for the first time, another needs review of the plan of salvation for reassurance, while others may need hope during depression, or comfort against fear of dying, or release from the pain of unforgiveness, or courage to face another day.  The variety of needs is immense.  This is why (a) we are admonished to study and (b) God shares his wisdom with us.

Leaders of nursing home ministries can use all volunteers who are called by God to this mission.  If some are entertainers for the cause of Christ say hallelujah and use them.  If they are in it for their ego, pray that God reshapes their motivation, teach them as you can, and restrain them from unhealthy influence.  If they are timid about sharing their faith, help them discover more of the power of the risen Christ to transform themselves as a joyful carrier of his good news.