Small, Thoughtful Gestures Make a Big Difference

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Sometimes the smallest gesture can make the biggest impact on someone who is facing death. Your presence is a ministry in itself, and so is your compassion through practical assistance.

“Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14b NLT, second edition).

When you’re ministering to a friend who is dying, you should give your physical presence to your friend but also give practical assistance. What does that mean? It means you do whatever needs to be done to help your friend, and you also help in small but practical ways.

People who are dying usually don’t feel good. They are often in pain. You can give comfort by attending to the small things that could make a big difference. Do they want the lights on or off? Can you get some ice chips? Do they need a backrub? You show love by offering practical assistance to relieve pain and discomfort.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to suggest things. The Bible says, “Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14 NLT, second edition).

When people are in pain, they don’t feel happy. When people are dying, they often get cranky because they don’t feel well. You show compassion when you cut them some slack and extend kindness and patience to them.

Why is this important? Because another one of the fears that people have when they’re dying is the fear of losing control. First they couldn’t drive. Now they can’t walk or get out of bed or use the bathroom on their own.

You can minister to people who are dying simply by being aware of their needs but also giving them choices in how those needs are addressed. Every time you give them a choice, you give control back to them. “Would you like your slippers on or off?” “Would you like for me to change the channel? What would you like to watch?” “Would you like your breakfast now or later?”

Sometimes the smallest gesture or thoughtful assistance can make the biggest impact on someone who is facing death. Your presence is a ministry in itself, and so is your compassion through practical assistance.

Talk It Over

How does your attitude change when you consider the impact your presence and small gestures can make on a friend who is dying?

If you were facing death, how would you want people to minister to you?

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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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