Last month, we took a moment to “check our connection” with Jesus in the gospel of John, Chapter 15. In that devotion, we said, “fruitfulness and joy in life come from the practice of dependent prayer.” Moreover, in our closing, we looked forward to the rest of that section to John 15, verses 12-17. Here they are.
John 15:12–17 (English Standard Version)
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
I know what you’re thinking. To command someone to love another feels coerced, forced, or manipulating. However, remember Jesus and other Bible writers often use commands as a way of saying ‘since a is true then b is true.’ So it is in this text.
Jesus has already established that love for one another is in the disciples because of their abiding in the vine of Jesus (verses 1-11), and so it is only natural that they do(take action) love one another. The question then remaining is, how does this love manifest itself? Read verse 13 again. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Wow! Because we are reading this from the vantage point of 2000 years after these events, we can see that Jesus is calling his disciples to love one another in the same way that he loved them when he went to the cross of Calvary and laid down his life for his friends. In verse 16 Jesus tells his disciples that he chose them for this very purpose, that this type of sacrificial love for one another is what it means to bear fruit by being possessing an intimate relationship with him. Jesus has chosen and empowered his disciples for the labor of loving one another.
So then, what does all this mean for us at HealthKeeperz? It at least suggests that when we say we intend to care for all people for the glory of God, this caring will manifest itself in some sacrificial act and we will be empowered by the very Author of love. To say it another way, when it is our goal to love one another as Christ Jesus has loved us we will have the resources of heaven at our full disposal to accomplish this glorious mission because the power to do so flows directly from Jesus as we cultivate our intimate connection with Him through prayer.
May the Holy Spirit strengthen us in our endeavor of caring for all people for the glory of God.
Yours in Christ,
Chaplain James Chavis
The Barnabas Awards began a few years ago, designed by our leadership team to have our employees select the people who, on a quarterly and annual basis, inspire them to be their best by living the values of our Barnabas Culture.
Barnabas, a disciple of Jesus Christ, serves as an example of many attributes necessary for HealthKeeperz to operate as a strong, vibrant, Christ-honoring organization. Our approach to providing the highest standard of community-based health care services to the people of North Carolina, defined as our Barnabas Culture, seeks to promote and recognize HealthKeeperz team members who have served our company, our patients, and our people by being a Barnabas.
Colleagues recognized at our quarterly and annual Barnabas Awards contribute to the HealthKeeperz mission of caring for all people for the glory of God. The ultimate goal of the Barnabas Culture at HealthKeeperz is to build a community of caregivers who are caring, selfless, humble, and encourage their teammates.
In this series, Portraits of Barnabas, we are highlighting the winners of the award. In the last few months, we’ve honored Janet Locklear of our hospice services division, Timmie Stultz of home medical equipment, community health educator Tito Massol, and Hortensia Ray Alston-Hayes of our northeastern NC office. Today, let’s enjoy a look at the life and work of hospice’s Kayla Johnson, winner of a our first quarterly Barnabas Award for 2018.
Winning a Barnabas Award is often a shock for the humble folks selected for this honor, and Kayla is no exception. “I was shocked when I found out that I won,” she said, “but I was grateful. It makes me feel appreciated and that my hard work doesn’t go unnoticed by my teammates and the company.”
Kayla is part of the outstanding hospice team, consistently recognized for its excellence in caring for patients and their families facing what for many is the toughest time in life, that time just before death. “Our bond is what makes us special as a hospice team, as well as the love that we share for our patients,” said Kayla. “Our team is more like a family than a group of co-workers. We all have good days and bad days, but we are always there to support each other, no matter what.”
And that “no matter what” can be quite daunting to face, day-in, day-out. “Different people relate to different situations in different ways,” she explained, when asked about why some folks on the team may need an uplift some days, while others may need it on other days. “Right now, we have a baby on hospice. That can be especially difficult on those of us who are parents or grandparents. Other times, you might care for a patient your same age, and that can have a really heavy effect on you.”
To care for all hospice patients and their families for the glory of God takes a lot of prayer, according to Johnson: “Every morning we have a call and pray with one of our chaplains, James Chavis and Bob Bulls. We always pray for our patients, our family, and our team, and if someone is out sick, we pray for them and then check in with them and care for their needs, even if it’s an encouraging phone call or text.”
To Kayla, the best part of working at HealthKeeperz is the opportunity to serve others. “Working with our patients and their families is so rewarding, as we are able to be there for them during a difficult time in their lives,” she explained. “Every touch matters.”
Let’s take a look at what her teammates at HealthKeeperz had to say about Kayla and her work.
Humble: “Kayla has gone far above and beyond the call of a social worker,” said one of her hospice teammates. “Recently, hospice had a patient die, and the husband was left all alone, with no children or siblings there for him. Kayla took it upon herself to comfort him and follow him to the funeral home to make sure the arrangements were taken care of correctly. She knew that he had a form of dementia, and she wanted to make sure he was able to communicate with them.”
Selfless: In helping the husband struggling with dementia, Kayla spent more than three-and-a-half hours with him to help him deal with the loss of his wife, and all of the decisions he needed to make in the aftermath.
Caring: One of her teammates says that “there is no doubt that Kayla Johnson cares deeply for others, and I believe she does so for the glory of God.”
Encouraging: Kayla’s positivity and genuine personality help others to stay strong. “Kayla will brighten up your day with that genuine smile she carries on her face, any time you come in contact with her. I just believe that in all she does she shows Barnabas characteristics.”
The HealthKeeperz family would like to again congratulate Kayla Johnson, an example of the generosity of spirit that brings out the best in all of us at HealthKeeperz. We are so proud of her positive contribution to the lives of her teammates and patients every day.
Stay tuned to learn more about our other previous Barnabas Award winners in the coming months.