If you’re as old as I am, then you may remember a time when doctors made house calls. That’s right — if you were sick, you could call your doctor and he would come to your house and take care of you there. I remember at least one time (I think I was about 6 years old) when my mom called the doctor because I was sick. He came to our house with his stethoscope and other instruments in his little black bag and examined me and diagnosed my illness while I was laying on the couch in our living room.
For those of us who can remember that long-abandoned practice, it’s actually a fond memory. It was a time when life wasn’t as hectic as it is now. People were more willing to give of their time. In-person contact was seen as something valuable.
Sad to say, it’s not just doctors who have phased out house calls. House calls associated with being part of the church have also declined significantly over time. For example:
- When was the last time you made a house call to visit a church member who was sick, shut-in, or elderly (whether to anoint or just to uplift)?
- When was the last time you made a house call to have dinner at a church member’s home after Sunday service (or invited someone to make a house call to your home)?
- How often do you make house calls to the House of God (Zoom attendance doesn’t count) to bring a blessing to your brothers and sisters?
When the doctor made house calls, keep in mind that he wasn’t doing it for his own benefit. He was selflessly giving his time to help someone else.
We need to look at church-related house calls in the same selfless manner. Instead of thinking about how I don’t like to be around sick people, I should think about how much it will brighten their day for me to take time to visit them. Instead of thinking that I can still get a blessing from watching a broadcast or recording of a church meeting, I should think about how I can be a blessing to others by being with them in church.
And the bonus that comes along with these types of house calls is that you actually do benefit from them too. Most of my closest friendships in the church are with people who I have spent time with in their homes and/or hosted them in my home. There is no substitute for spending quality time with people in their homes. It’s well worth making time for in our busy lives.
After a sabbath day meeting at the synagogue (the one where Jesus cast out the evil spirit), Jesus makes a house call to the home of Peter and Andrew (Mark 1:29), presumably as an invited dinner guest. Upon arriving at the house, they learn that Peter’s mother-in-law is there and she is sick with a very high fever (Luke 4:38). What does Jesus do?
“He stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.” (Luke 4:39)
Even as we’re blessed to see how Jesus healed this woman, it’s important to remember in this case that Jesus didn’t come to this house because the woman was sick. He was there to spend quality time with His new disciples. Yet, because He was there, the opportunity was presented to accomplish something else that was good.
You never know what opportunities might arise to accomplish something good when you go somewhere in person. In our branch of the church, just in the past few weeks, there have been multiple occasions when one member heard another member expressing a need and then was able to fill that need. If either had not been in church on that particular day, the blessing would not have occurred.
God can more easily use us as instruments in His hand when we make ourselves available by being around other people. So, let’s not allow church-related house calls to go the way of doctor’s house calls. If we do, then we’ll have lost something very precious.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.