Called to the Poor and Needy

Written by M. Larson

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me'” (Matthew 25:40).

Jeanne Jeffery stared at that verse in her Bible and then read it again. “Why, I’ve read and heard those words by the Lord Jesus Christ many times!” she thought. “Why do I feel as if I am seeing them for the very first time?”

As Jeanne pondered that verse, she suddenly realized that if poor people needed to be clothed and fed (especially poor Christians), it was just as if the Lord needed it himself. ‘Oh, if my Lord Jesus were hungry or ill or in prison, I just can’t imagine my not helping, feeding or visiting Him!’ she thought.

Compassion for the needy welled up in Jeanne’s heart. Shortly after that, she heard of a halfway house for released prisoners that had burned down, so she sent them blankets. Then she began corresponding with a man in prison. Then some friends of hers mentioned that they had served as volunteer chaplains in an inner-city hospital.

“The idea of ministering to people in a hospital appealed to me,” says Jeanne, “so even though I had doubts about my ability to do such work, I felt compelled to look into the possibility!”

Jeanne went to see the three women who served as chaplains in the inner-city hospital. After hearing of her experience in the Lord’s work, they accepted her as a volunteer chaplain and she began work immediately at the city hospital.


Before she started a chaplain told her, “We feel it is important to demonstrate to the indigent people who come here on an emergency basis that God loves them and someone cares for them. They’re often badly hurt and, first of all, these need compassion and sympathy and someone to listen to their woes. What they don’t need at this time is someone who literally throws the gospel at them.”

As Jeanne thought about this advice, she agreed. If the Lord did want her to reach someone with His good news, He would certainly show her how to go about it in a non-threatening way.

He did. During Jeanne’s first week as a chaplain she had the joy of helping a man come back to the Lord. She had been assigned to the burn unit.

“How were you burned?” she asked the new arrival.

“My wife threw acid at me,” he answered.

After Jeanne asked him several more questions, the man exclaimed, “You know, I think the Lord is trying to say something to me! I’ve been backsliding from the Lord.”

After they talked, Jeanne took his hand and prayed with him. After the man was released from the hospital, Jeanne visited his home. She encouraged his wife and him to start attending a Bible-preaching church near their home.

“Most of the people I visit are very grateful, and a number of them are Christians,” says Jeanne. “It does them good to be able to talk to someone. One man said to me, “Do you know you’re the first person I ever told all these things to?” Just listening to someone has great therapeutic value.

Listening is the key

When visiting someone, Jeanne just says enough to establish a rapport and then draws the patient out by asking questions. “Chaplaincy is not quite the same as counseling,” she says. “When people come to you, they want your advice. But I go to them. After they tell me their story, I ask if they would like me to pray with them and almost all say they would. Afterward they thank me and I am encouraged to continue.”

They also thank Jeanne for the comforting tract she gives them and they often ask for more. Some of the leaflets include God’s plan of salvation along with encouragement. Jeanne always carries her New Testament with her and sometimes reads it to those with whom she visits.

As a volunteer, Jeanne serves at the hospital for five hours once a week. “Many of the patients come from a strata of society that I have never encountered before – people I would never have been able to reach or minister to if I had not gone into this work,” she says. “I have learned too how important it is to demonstrate the love of Christ in practical ways.”

Jeanne often makes one special statement to patients to let them know why she is serving as a chaplain to them. “My Lord Jesus is in heaven right now preparing a place for those who love Him,” she says, “so I have come for Him.”

Yet in her heart, Jeanne also feels that it is to her Lord himself she is ministering.

2 Responses to “Called to the Poor and Needy”

  • Sharon says:

    to Elly prayer–father God I do pray for Elly for more bibles in Swahili and I pray give her dreams and visions on how to reach these people and I do pray for open doors for her for your glory God help her to get a way to fulfill her call God you her heart God to serve people in east Africa I pray for wisdom and guidance for her there I pray all of this in JESUS name amen I am praying for you– bless you and God be with you as you serve HIM there— sharon

  • Elienea Nakazael Kabora says:

    I need your prayers to accomplish my call. I have a burden of serving people in the remote ereas expecially surrounding our place. I am Pastor of local church in Tunduma Mbeya Tanzania East Africa. I serve people with Gospel and clothes. There are a lot of challenges we face, such as lack of Bibles in Swahili, how to reach them, etc. Strongly I need your prayers so that God opens the door ad and give me the way out to fulfill my call.
    May God bless you as you serve in His Vineyard.
    Yours Elly Kabora.

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