Who or what group of people is the most undervalued and underappreciated in churches today?
It seems that in our disposable society, when someone reaches a point where they cannot take care of themselves, they are pushed aside and moved into a nursing home or skilled nursing facility where they don’t have to be a burden to anyone anymore. That’s not the case in most churches, but in many cases, when church members are no longer able to safely care for themselves, they are moved out of their home and into an institution, and in many cases they’re never heard from again. This, despite the fact that James says “pure religion is visiting the orphans and the widows in their affliction” (James 1:27a), which could be loneliness to be sure.
People with Mental Health Issues
There is a stigma about people who suffer from mental health issues. They are often unfairly blamed for their own state of mental health, when most of the time these men and women have rational reasons for their illness. Some may have simple brain chemical imbalances that are treatable, but the way we treat those who suffer from such issues often results from neglect and being underappreciated.
We have two men in our church who are homeless. We help them as much as we can being a small church, but we don’t expect these men to contribute much to the offerings at church because they don’t have much of anything, but what they can contribute is a broken, humble attitude that the rest of us might not have. They have so much to offer. For example, we covet the prayers of those who have little and are hurting, because God is nearer to these folks than those who have little or no needs (Psalm 34:18).
The world today is still very much male-oriented and male-dominated, but it should not be so in the church because, as we know, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). Jesus was never one to belittle the role of women in the church. In fact, women were Jesus’ greatest financial supporters while He was here on earth (Luke 8:1-3), so women are certainly undervalued and sometimes ignored in the churches today.
I can’t remember how often I have heard single people tell me that when others ask them why they’re not married, how hurt they felt. They seem to be less valuable to married couples with children, just because they haven’t met the right person yet or are happy being single. We focus on families so much that we forget single people are families too; it’s just that there’s only one of them.
Our church provides services for those in the nursing home as part of our mission to be the Body of Christ, the church (Matt 25:34-40), but these we minister to also include those in prison, those in the hospital, the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and those who we don’t know that we might consider strangers. We should have no regard for one person over another since God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Rom 2:11).
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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