Contact Info Subscribe Links

Cover 41


January 2012

Dare to Disciple


Online Edition

PDF Edition

iPad and eReader









Free Will Baptist


Giving and Receiving Support


Sometimes, the shoe is on the other foot...

Giving and Receiving Support

By Norma Jackson Goldman

Early in retirement people spend a good deal of time sorting through changes in daily routines, new work and leisure opportunities, and re-establishing more frequent contact with extended family and friends. By the second or third year, they begin to wonder how they ever found time to work! Inevitably, people experience challenges that require the giving and receiving of support from family and friends. After a lifetime of hearing, “It is better to give than to receive,” we convince ourselves that we prefer being on the giving end, but the choice is not always ours to make.

Being part of a large, thriving congregation provides the opportunity to observe many Christian individuals and families. And there seems to be a clear and observable contrast between busy, involved, and caring people and those who are less engaged, lonely, and lacking a positive outlook.

Alice came to Bible study class about a year ago at the urging of a caring sister. She had serious health issues, had lost her job, and was finding it difficult to maintain a positive attitude. She wondered if God really cared for her. After only a few weeks in a loving, caring environment, we saw big changes in Alice. She was the first to volunteer to help prepare a fellowship dinner and genuinely seemed to enjoy class events. We prayed for her when she had surgery, and she received the love and attention gratefully. Today, she gives support and encouragement to others in the same ways that she once received it.


When Sickness Comes

Those who pride themselves on extreme independence experience a shock when faced with debilitating medical conditions that require outside help. It is painful to watch them receive help and support in their struggle to regain health. But when others quickly respond with offers to drive them to doctor visits, prepare and serve meals, mow lawns, rake and weed gardens, and carry out such tasks with genuine love and concern (and sometimes humor) it gradually transforms reluctance into gratitude.


Supporting a Caregiver

Virtually every retiree knows one or more friends who have been tasked with caring for an aging parent or relative. This is truly an act of grace, but the caregiver also needs critical support while carrying out their labor of love. Picking up mail, seeing that the grass is mowed, checking on the house while they are away, preparing meals, providing light housekeeping, and sending notes of love and encouragement go a long way toward easing the caregiver’s load.

Such kindnesses are a great source of comfort, and they ease the financial burdens associated with extended caregiving.


Friendships Promote Health

God designed us to live in community, and regular, face-to-face contact with friends is essential for wellbeing. Healthy retirees make friendship a priority. Shopping together, doing service projects, eating out, hunting, and fishing are all activities friends can share. These occasions allow time for meaningful conversations, where joys, hurts, fears, and questions can be shared in the safety of a friend’s counsel.


In Times of Trouble and Loss

There is no comfort like that of a friend. Jesus modeled ways to share care and concern that His followers can give in times of loss. The best friends say, “Don’t worry about ________________. I’ll take care of that.” Good friends know what must be done and move quickly to do it. People seldom respond when someone says, “Let me know if I can help.”

Often the best thing a friend can do is simply to be there, quietly in the background, and ready to step forward when needed. Giving and receiving help demonstrate the love of Christ in a language everyone can understand.


About the Writer: Former magazine editor Norma J. Goldman enjoys a successful freelance career in her retirement. The award-winning writer lives near Nashville, TN. Learn more about retirement options at

©2012 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists