“To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction is our privilege and duty, and to carry with us such messages from the Word of God as are fitted to bind up the broken heart.
In cases of sudden and severe affliction, we may be able to do little more than weep with them that weep, giving the afflicted some word from the merciful and faithful High Priest, and perhaps taking hold of the sufferer’s hand– an act of sympathy that often has a wonderful power to calm and soothe in times of deep distress.
We know very little about those ministering spirits who are sent forth to minister for those who are heirs of salvation. But may we not be often side by side with them? For this is our privilege as well as theirs.
And it is our part, being ourselves in the body, to do what they are not privileged to do– to sit beside a dying believer, to smooth his pillow, to moisten his lips, to remind him of the rod and the staff that are ready for his help in the dark valley, and to direct his dying eye to Jesus. All this is a precious service we cannot render in heaven, but only on earth.
Have we realized the honor and privilege given us by our Lord of ministering to an heir of salvation? Would we like to have shown kindness to Jesus Himself, who for our sakes became poor?
Would we like our roof to have sheltered Him, our fire to have warmed Him, our food to have fed Him? This service of life is still within our reach, for ‘inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye did it unto Me.'”
–David Dickson, The Elder and His Work, Eds. George McFarland and Philip Ryken (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1883/2004), 60-61.