I officiated the funeral for a friend, Jimmy Owens, Saturday. Jimmy would never have become my friend had I not visited him. When I came to my current church I had been told about Jimmy, that he had been a regular attender until a health condition prevented him from coming. My second week as pastor I went and visited him he told me of his condition, pulmonary fibrosis, and the prognosis the doctors gave him. From my first visit I knew that this past Saturday was something to be expected.
After my first visit I would come and see him almost every week bringing him a copy of the previous Sunday’s sermon and we would visit with each other. The weeks I wasn’t able to visit him, such as my time recovering from surgery, we kept up with each other.
I know many Christians think visiting the sick and infirm is something that only pastors do, that somehow that is their area alone. It’s not. I never visited Jimmy merely because I was his pastor, I initially visited him because he was my brother in Christ. Jesus says in Matthew 25:35-40 speaks of the inheritance of those who visited him when he was sick, clarifying that when we visit our brothers and sickness in Christ and minister to them in their sickness, need, or imprisonment we are in fact ministering to Him.
That initial act of obedience was repaid with friendship. Through my visits he became more to me than a church member, or another brother in Christ, he became my friend. My question for you who are reading this whether pastor or not is why would you deprive yourself of this blessing? We are called and commanded, each and everyone of us, to minister to the sick but that obedience is never left unrewarded. So will you go in obedience and visit an ill brother or sister in Christ? Like me you might find the blessing of friendship.