Jim O’Connor did. But, no one would suspect; he has a reputation as a gruff algebra and calculus teacher.
Who Is Your Neighbor?
Gentle and loving is not the side his students generally see, so it was surprising to find out that strict, no-nonsense Mr. O’Connor is a “TLC Volunteer” at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where he has spent several days a week for the past 20 years cuddling sick babies.
As a “TLC Volunteer”, Jim O’Connor visits the patients who need a little extra care because they are lonely, fussy, scared, or have no parents. Only a handful of the hospital’s 550 volunteers are given the “TLC” designation, which is reserved for the most seasoned helpers.
O’Connor was first drawn to the hospital by a friend who asked him to take part in a blood drive. With Type O negative blood — which is precious because it can be transfused into any patient — he kept returning to give blood and platelets, eventually becoming the hospital’s top donor. He’s given 72 gallons of blood so far.
During his visits, O’Connor kept seeing volunteers helping sick children, so he asked how he could take part and was encouraged to volunteer himself. That’s when the tough math teacher, who is not married and doesn’t have kids of his own, found his other calling: comforting babies who seem to take to him as much as he takes to them.
O’Connor is drawn to the babies who don’t have visitors. Some parents can’t come very often because they live far away, have to work or have other kids at home they have to take care of, he said. Other times, the babies may be on a “hospital hold” — waiting to be placed in foster care because they were neglected or abused.
Jim O’Connor is worth emulating.
Whatever season of life you find yourself in as a woman of God, an important question to resolve in your heart is “Who is my neighbor, and who should I be serving at this stage of my life?” If we are to follow the commands of Christ, we must be servants committed to meeting the needs of others with a deep-down humility.
~A daughter can serve her family, readying herself to possibly have her own family one day ( Colossians 3:23)
~A married woman can serve beside her husband as a help-meet as well as minister to other women and mothers (Proverbs 31)
~A mother with children seeks to draw the hearts of her charges to know the Lord within her own home and teach them (Deuteronomy 6: 4-9)
~A mother with grown children continues to bless her husband but can serve outside the home in other ministry capacities as directed by the Lord (Titus 2: 3-5).
~ A grandmother can be a tremendous support and encouragement to the new young families and ask how they can come alongside to bless them in the Lord (2 Timothy 1:5)
Just as Jim O’Connor chose to make ‘the least of these’ little ones in the hospital his neighbor and bring sunshine into their lives, so we as mothers must chose to make our ‘neighbor’ the very family we have been given by God. Jim’s calling is caring for the most needy of the babes at Children’s Hospital, and we mother’s primary mission-field is our family in the home. There is no role in life more important and more eternal than that of motherhood.
If I told you anything else, I would not be telling you the truth of what would bless your life the most! Over any other place we can serve in the world, we must not fail to bring the beautiful, powerful Gospel of Jesus Christ into our homes – to live it with our husbands and to teach it to our children.
“God…made childhood joyous, full of life, bubbling over with laughter, playful, bright and sunny. We should put into their childhood days just as much sunshine and gladness, just as much cheerful pleasure as possible.
Pour in the sunshine about them in youth. Let them be happy, encourage all innocent joy, provide pleasant games for them, romp and play with them; be a child again among them. Then God’s blessing will come upon your home, and your children will grow up sunny-hearted, gentle, affectionate, joyous themselves and joy-bearers to the world.”
~ J.R. Miller
Decide today who your neighbor is! If you are uncertain, bow down before the Lord God and ask. He will certainly show you.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” ~Luke 10:25-30
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