We invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.
By Pastor Chris Wheatley, Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” —Deuteronomy 4:9, NIV
I have the privilege of helping teach a course for new leaders within Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS) titled “Excellence in Leadership: Living Our Mission.” It’s a lot of fun. We talk about how to work with campus pastors, how to lead devotions, what a Spirit-filled culture looks like, and generally how to lead in an authentically Christian way.
At one point during that class, I stop and ask for examples of times when people have seen somebody show God’s love at their campus. The examples I get are always incredible, including:
Sharing these stories gets the new leaders in class in touch with the PHS mission in a powerful way.
- Staff: such as the aide who stops and says table grace with every resident who she brings to a table at mealtime.
- Family members: such as the one who trained as a volunteer so that they could continue visiting their mother’s friend after she moved on.
- Residents: like the man who carved crosses for every new resident who moved into the community, because he knew how important it is to feel welcome in a new place.
It usually makes them feel inspired and proud to be part of such an amazing ministry. And it leaves them completely unprepared for my next question, “So why haven’t I heard of these before? Why aren’t they on our intranet, in StandUP
or the PHS blog
? Why have you kept these stories for yourselves?”
Abrupt? Perhaps. Inappropriate? I don’t think so. PHS is an amazing place, with an amazing ministry, and it is always only one generation of workers away from being unrecognizable. If we don’t find ways to pass on the love and the Spirit that make the difference to each new employee, then we are living on borrowed time.
That’s what Deuteronomy 4
is talking about. God has done amazing things to save the children of Israel. One generation later, all that will be forgotten and the people will turn to their own ways. Over and over again, God will act to save them, and over and over again, they will forget.
Brothers and sisters, let us not forget. If we have found ways to show God’s love
within our communities and teams, then let us share those stories and pass them on. If we have seen God’s grace
in the faces of our residents, then let us remind each other. If we want PHS to remain on mission,
then let us never let these things fade from our hearts.
Concluding staff prayer:
Lord, grant us keen hearing and quick thinking as we speak to others and are spoken to today. Fill us with the joy of your Spirit so it may shine from our faces and echo through our voices. We now lift up our joys and concerns for prayer. Help us to know one another by name as you know us by our names and so much more. Amen.
Rev. Chris Wheatley serves PHS as Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor and has served in hospice, eldercare, hospital, HIV/AIDS and congregational settings. He and his wife Nicole are perpetually outnumbered by cats and Dobermans.
The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.
Find more in the Light for the Way series:
Be watchful and keep praying
Becoming springs in a parched world
Get to know us: a Christian ministry
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series
In addition to Light for the Way,
you can find reflections, devotions, music and other resources on the Pastoral Care resources website