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The Gift of Presence

            “I don’t do anything,“ Brad complained as he expressed his intention to quit serving with the weekly nursing home ministry team. “I don’t have any ministry gifts to share. I just stand there!” He concluded, “ There’s no value in it. I’m really not needed.” Brad wasn’t pitching for sympathy. He was dead serious.

            Unfortunately, he was overlooking the gift that is common to all - his gift of presence. And he is not alone.  Most people are unaware of the dynamic power released just through their presence. It was true that Brad didn’t have a visible “platform” like preaching, teaching or singing.  But what he did provide was indisputably powerful.

             Presence is a mysterious force.  It’s that something that nurtures the Body of Christ as the Apostle Paul expressed it ( 1Cor. 12:12-27;Eph. 4:15m16). You can’t “cultivate” it and you can’t “learn” it. Yet, a group of people can be “built up,” encouraged, enriched and caused to feel more secure because of it. Actually, you don’t do anything for it.  You are…you are there…and it just happens!

             Frightened parents rushed their infant son to the community hospital. A seizure had him in its grip and the diagnosis was threatening. While waiting anxiously at the child’s bedside their Pastor arrived.  He encouraged them; prayed for them and their son. But that’s all he could do beyond just standing by with them.  Only some years later did  the Pastor discover the impact of his visit.  A mutual friend reported to him the grateful words of that infant’s father:  “You can never know how good it was to see those swinging doors open and have the Pastor walk through.”  The gift of presence meant more to him than anything the Pastor said or did. He was there. That’s what was important.

             The gift of presence is powerful at the bedside.  Its value to the bereaved cannot be measured.   Just sitting with the lonely, fills the painful void of emptiness.  A worship service becomes more powerful because you are there. Just being there!

  Think of it!  John’s Ministry Team could not be the same should he deny them and the Nursing Home patients the gift of his presence.  Believe it! Your gift of presence does make a difference.  Though speechless, skill-less and penniless, stand by, my friend! Just stand by.  Your presence, of itself, is a powerful gift.

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