For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. Romans 14:7
One of my favorite devotional books is My Utmost For His Highest written by Oswald Chambers. For many years while working as an engineer and analyst for the Department of the Army, I would always start my morning by reading a devotion from this book which was readily visible on my desk. Reading one of these devotions before I started my day helped me remember who I served as I went about my day.
In one of Oswald Chambers’ devotions he asks, “Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible spiritually to God for other people? For instance, if I allow any turning away from God in my private life, everyone around me suffers.” Wow, what an awesome task to be responsible spiritually to God for other people! Interestingly enough, Chambers places no condition on his question. In other words, it makes no difference if you are healthy or ill, wealthy or poor, joyful or sorrowful, employed or unemployed, married or single, or living in an estate or homeless. As Christians, we are duty bound to be spiritually responsible for those around us through our actions, prayers, words, and thoughts.
Since my diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and subsequent early retirement due to the disease, I have come to appreciate how important it is to be spiritually responsible for others. Perhaps because I have more free time now than while I was working, I spend more time studying the Bible, meditating on its words, praying for others, and being of service where I am able. I do these things in spite of my disease because that is what Christ expects from me.
Perhaps this is what the Apostle Paul was trying to get the saints in Rome to understand in today’s passage when he said, “None of us lives for ourselves alone.” We are greater than ourselves and therefore responsible for the spiritual and physical well-being of others. Besides, isn’t this exactly what Christ called us to do?
If you are dealing with the daily demands of dementia, you may wonder what you can do to spiritually help others. First and foremost, stay attached to the vine of Christ and don’t turn away from God in your private life. Then pray for those around you whether it be your caregivers, members of your support group(s), family members, or even the people in the nursing home/assisted living facility which you may reside. Then ask God to show you how you might be of service to them in some small way. He will always bring forth an opportunity that fits your ability if you ask.
Remember, none of us lives for ourselves alone if we belong to Christ. Therefore, become spiritually responsible for those around you. When you do this, your actions will be a pleasing and selfless offering to God.