There are many things we can do, and should do as we have
ability, to help other people and share the gospel.
In last week's article, we explored the use of our telephones
in personal work and evangelism. It's simple to make a phone
call; it takes little time, energy, and effort. But a phone
call can mean the world to someone who is sick and homebound.
In this article, I want to take explore visiting people
who are in need.
Visiting People in Need is a Characteristic of the Saved
James gives us some examples of being a doer of the word
and not just a hearer. "If anyone thinks himself to be religious,
and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own
heart, this man's religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled
religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to
visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep
oneself unstained by the world" (Jas. 1:26-27).
We can tell whether we're a faithful Christian (doer of
the word) by whether we control our tongues, visit others
and see to their needs, and keep ourselves pure.
Visiting Must be a Habit
"Visit" as used in James 1:27 means "to look upon, care
for, exercise oversight" (Vine's Dictionary). Grace, mercy,
love, and compassion are qualities required to visit people
who have needs, and help relieve their burdens.
James uses "visit" in the present tense, meaning that
visiting others and seeing to their needs should be a habit
(A. T. Robertson). It's not something we do occasionally;
rather it's something we do habitually -- all the time.
How Do We Visit?
The word "visit" means we have to go physically and see
people. A couple of Webster's definitions say that visit
is "to go to see in order to comfort or help" and "to pay
a call on as an act of friendship or courtesy."
To visit people in need, we must physically go and see
them. We can't send someone in our place, or try to keep
track of them by listening to others who've been -- we must
For example, when Jesus taught about judgment he said of
the saved, "'I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison,
and you came to Me'" (Matt. 25:36). Then of the lost, He
said, "'I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in;
naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and
you did not visit Me'" (Matt. 25:43). To visit someone we
must personally go, and see to their needs.
In today's technological world, we also visit by interactive
communication (telephone, instant messaging, etc.). This
type of visitation is helpful between the times we physically
visit, but it can't replace physical visitation. If we are
able, we have a responsibility to physically go and see
to the needs of others.
Who Do We Need To Visit?
The Lord has made visiting our brethren and taking care
of them a top priority in our life. Paul says, "Let us not
lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if
we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity,
let us do good to all people, and especially to those who
are of the household of the faith" (Gal. 6:9-10).
We need to visit people who are sick, homebound, and in
need -- especially brethren. When we visit, we are to see
to their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. If we
are unable to meet their needs totally and completely, we
should solicit help from other individuals. And for our
brethren, we should tell other Christians about their needs
so they can help.
What Can You Do When Visiting
Most of all, in our prosperous nation, brethren need us
to visit and talk. People who are sick and homebound can't
get out and interact spiritually or socially. So, we must
go to them. They need us to physically be there, interact
in conversation, talk about spiritual things, and sometimes
The sick, homebound, and elderly may need help with light
chores such as changing a light bulb, taking out trash,
picking something up from the floor. etc. And occasionally
taking food is helpful.
Most of all they need to see our faces and hear our voices.
Don't worry about what you'll do or say, just go and visit.
Everything else will come natural.
Do You Visit People In Need?
Habitually visiting people in need, especially our brethren,
is a mark of faithfulness.
There are people in our congregation who need to be visited
regularly, mostly for spiritual encouragement and to relieve
their loneliness. If members from every family physically
visited them every month, besides calling on the phone,
they would not have too many visitors.
Do you visit people in need -- especially Christians,
and especially members of our congregation?