By Marilyn Granner
How would You have me serve You with the unique gifts You have given me?

I am the rich man. They are Lazarus.

Several years ago, I noticed that I was working my way out of a job. One child was off to college, one was in high school, one was in middle school. What had been my joy, staying at home with my kids full time, had become part time and was on the fast track to being a position eliminated.

While I had many motives for picking up my long defunct nursing career I had just as many misgivings. What if I was too old to be hired? What if I couldn’t pass my boards? What if it was true what people said, “It’s impossible to go back after that long – everything has changed.”

What if I was too old to be hired?

But there was also that voice of reassurance, “My grace is sufficient for You,” “Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me,” “Let the day’s own troubles be sufficient for the day,” “Be faithful in little and I will give you much,” “From whom much is given, much will be expected.”

My grace is sufficient for You

It took some time, support from my family, the recommendations of friends, the open minds of a nursing director who was willing to give me a chance in spite of a minor 19 year work gap, and a bunch of intestinal fortitude (as my 6th grade Lutheran school teacher, Fred Mueller, put it). Now, a few days a week, I get to go to work alongside incredible people to provide care for those who are in crisis with a mental illness.

They are brave. They are broken. They are struggling. They are strong. They are conflicted. They are caring. They are guarded. They are grateful. They are Lazarus at the gate.

But, Lord, really? Seriously? I can’t connect with these people – what could we possibly have in common? This is hard. I’m too tired. Shouldn’t I be volunteering more at the school? My schedule is erratic – I won’t be able to go to my Bible study. I need to pick something up at the mall!

This is hard. I’m too tired.

“My grace is sufficient for You,” “Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me,” “Let the day’s own troubles be sufficient for the day,” “Be faithful in little and I will give you much,” “From whom much is given, much will be expected.”

From whom much is given, much will be expected.

I am the rich man.  They are Lazarus. We are all broken. My patients help me to “see” Lazarus lying at the gate. They help me to recognize his humanity, their humanity, my humanity. My patients help me to keep my “rich man” in check, to keep money in perspective, to realize that life is fragile and that wellness is a gift. They help me to see them as people, sometimes hard to look at, often difficult to be with, and I, a small part of God’s plan for healing for their minds and bodies. And they, likewise, are a part of God’s plan for my healing, for keeping me humbly aware of our common need for the forgiveness of a Savior. I’m only thankful that they have been sent to me before it was already too late! Perhaps, instead, we shall be together in joy at Abraham’s side.

My patients help me to keep my “rich man” in check, to keep money in perspective, to realize that life is fragile and that wellness is a gift.

Watch the sermon here: