Not In Vain

Do you ever feel like what you do is in vain; that nobody really cares what you’re doing? I feel that way sometimes in my church nursing home ministry. Every second Saturday afternoon, my family and I visit the Manor House Nursing Home in Dover, Tennessee. Though I do enjoy it, sometimes I have my doubts. 

My Uncle Anthony was a resident in a different nursing home in 2004 after suffering a brain aneurysm. Dad started the ministry while visiting him. Even though my uncle eventually passed away, Dad still felt called upon by God to to press on with his ministry. Three years ago, my father was taking care of a man named Bill, who was a resident at Manor House for two years before also passing away. Manor House then became our permanent place to visit once a month. 

We always invite people from our church to tag along with us, but most of the time it’s just me and my family holding the fort down. With my sister away with her husband living in Texas, it’s down to just me; Mom; Dad; and Chris, a Christian who worships on Sundays. It can be very discouraging.

What takes my mind off the small numbers is seeing the residents enjoying themselves. My heart soars hearing them sing along with us from the hymnal, seeing them rejoice or ask for prayer during testimony time, or seeing them captivated during my father’s small sermons called sermonettes. Some of the residents are quiet or don’t seem interested at all at our being there, but it’s good that they at least there in the room, because they just might catch something important.

This past nursing home visit, as I was gathering the hymnals ready to exit the nursing home,  I heard a gentle tone-several piano keys. There was a pause and then the music continued. I recognized what the tune was. It was the song we had had just sung- Shall We Gather at the River. I turned my head and there at the brown piano that neither me or the others ever touched, was an elderly woman in a wheelchair, poking away at the keys. Mom, Dad, Chris and myself all stared at one another in awe. Neither me or Dad hesitated to get a front row seat to the surprise musician. While there were pauses in the playing, the tempo was just right for you to make out the song and truly appreciate it. What blew my mind more was that this woman was playing with one hand. What talent! As that last key faded out, I felt as if any discouragement I had about the ministry faded out as well. 

“Thank you very much,” I said, extending my right arm around her. “That was wonderful.”

You are very welcome,” she said quietly. “Drive safely.”
Hearing that resident on the piano made me do some some deep thinking. I get so caught up about the lack of participation in our ministries that sometimes I forget why we do them- to reach out to as many people as we can with the love Christ. Let this be a lesson. If you ever feel like what you’re doing is in vain, don’t give up hope. There is always someone there to let you know that you’re not wasting your time at all. God bless!


By David Harris

I was born on January 31, 1992. I graduated from Austin Peay State University in December 2015 with a B.S. My major was Communications, with a concentration in Print & Web Journalism. My minor was English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. Writing is my passion. I’m a book lover. I prefer to to be called a Booklion rather than a bookworm. Why- lions are mightier.
My first love is Jesus Christ. I was raised in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. No we are not a cult. We are Christians who worship on Saturday.
I have been stuttering since I was four, but through Christ I have persevered through it and will continue to do so. I’m not thing with Him.
Singing is another passion of mine. God blessed with me with the gift of song, which I am grateful for.

10 replies on “Not In Vain”

The seeds that you have planted in their hearts is very precious in the eyes of God. In Exodus 18:25 it says: ‘And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens’. Take comfort in this scripture and don’t be perturbed by the numbers. The congregation of ten was just as powerful as the congregation of a thousand. x

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So encouraging! I volunteer for Sunday school where I teach a bunch of lovely but energetic kids. Sometime I wonder if what I do even make an impact on them. God bless you for your serving heart!


Hi! I found your blog through Steph’s Spring Blog party. I loved the message here. Anything we do, no matter who we touch or who touches us is a gift. I’ve definitely felt as you do–why aren’t more people coming to help/celebrate/participate? But, like you, I try and remember the gift isn’t in the quantity. The honor of touching one life–being a part of one person’s experience is enough. But I’m as likely to forget this day to day as the next person. Your experience with the resident musician is just the kind of thing I need to remind me. We’re always having an impact, we just don’t always know what it is.


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