On Monday January 16, 2012, I had the honor and privilege of speaking at an MLK Jr. Day celebration, at a local nursing home and convalescent center, the invitation was extended, and I accepted, it was an event that seemed simple enough: after all, I have spoken in public on other occasions, how different could this be? The plan was simple, no major studying involved, just read a few excerpts from the famous “ I Have a Dream” speech, read a few bible verses, say a couple of words, and have a seat; however, my assumption of how things would go and how they actually went were separated by miles and miles. The event was scheduled to begin at 3:00 pm and I arrived a little early to get settled, pray, and prepare for the speaking engagement; however, as I observed the “goings on” of the nursing home, I began to realize that I was not there to speak to the employees or residents, I was there to learn from them what dedication really and truly means.
After arriving at the nursing home and meeting with the event organizer, I learned that the employees at the convalescent center agreed to cut their hours worked, which then cuts their pay checks, they have attempted to cut all extra expenses, to delay or eliminate pay raises all together in an effort to help alleviate the added pressures of cuts in Medicare and Medicaid that pay many of the expenses of the center’s residents, one employee even came in on her day off to assist with today’s event, that is dedication. Although I was invited as the guest speaker, the prayer, the singing, and the first speaker were all residents of the center. The opening prayer was given by an elderly gentleman who looked as though he may have been around when Jesus walked the earth, but his words were so strong and encouraging as he talked about what God had done in his life and how important it is to never give up, at this point, the tears were on the edge of release; however, it only gets better. After the prayer, the wheel chair bound wife of the gentleman sang an acapella solo and her voice was as smooth as gold while her husband stared at her with a smile on his face as big as the horizon.
As the afternoon continued, I was filled with joy, elation, and amazement as I watched these wonderful individuals well past their golden years praise the living God, and as the time had come for me to speak, I realized that God had brought me here so that I could see that HE will remain faithful to us until the very end, just as HE had promised, and that we are to never give up on HIM because HE never gives up on us. The presentation went off without a hitch; I shared portions of Dr. King’s speech as planned, mixed in the story of creation from Genesis, and tied it in with John chapter 1, in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, All things were made by HIM and without HIM there was not anything made that was made. God created man in HIS own image, and we are to Love one another as HE Loves us that was the message I delivered; however, God’s message of faithfulness, integrity, and Love was the message of the day.
Matthew 28:20 ….lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the earth….
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