There are so many different kinds of people in the local church who provide a helpful service for the pastors to care for elderly widows, but I have found a specific group that shows to be especially valuable. It is a group in the church that often “flies under the radar” in regard to being called upon to play such a role. Yet this group possesses particular qualities that prove to be very useful to the pastors and meaningful to widows, especially older widows. This group of folks in the church…
“Stay at home moms”
Here are 4 reasons why this unique group of ladies seem to be especially fruitful in this type of ministry:
1) Availability: Although stay at home moms are typically on a set schedule when their kids are little, this provides open times for them to go and visit widows and take their children with them at a time that is convenient. This schedule also provides open slots of availability during the day, which is typically the best time to visit elderly widows.
2) Kids bless widows: One the greatest gifts you can give an elderly widow is to take a child with you to visit them. Most elderly widows love children. Many of them have children of their own who maybe live far away, which means visits from children and grandchildren are infrequent. They love to just watch a child. Talk to them. Play with them. Hear you tell stories about them. Interacting with a child often becomes an elderly widow’s most precious and memorable weekly moment.
3) An opportunity for a younger woman to care for an older woman: Elderly widows appreciate care from anyone in the church, but they seem to love to be especially cared for by other younger women. Not sure if it is the feeling of a daughter’s care or what, but my experience shows a clear meaningful distinction from visits by young mothers than any others.
4) An opportunity for an older woman to instruct and encourage the younger: On the flip side, these interactions provide an opportunity for a young mom to potentially gain wise instruction from an older mom. We have an elderly widow in her mid-nineties who had 7 children (one set of twins). As you can imagine, this woman is an endless resource of wisdom and insight for young moms. Young moms should love to learn from these kinds of ladies. These elderly widows love their many years of experience to be utilized to serve Christ’s people.
Pastors, so often we hesitate to call upon stay-at-home moms because of the stress and challenges that come with this noble, godly task. Yet I encourage you to see their value by assisting you in this role and the personal benefit they will receive from it.
Stay-at-home moms, you play a most important role and don’t allow anyone to demean this noble, God-honoring calling. Yet I pray that you will see serving elderly widows as a way to remove yourself out of a daily life that can become inwardly focused and seize a wonderful opportunity to use your gifts, time, and resources (children) to serve a dear elderly saint in your church. I am confident if you will make the time and step out of your comfort zone to engage in caring for elderly widows, you will be as encouraged as that widow will be by the gift of your fellowship.
Brian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church. To find out more, please visit Practical Shepherding.