Our hearts, orphans and widows.
What does the Bible have to say about those things?
Consider James 1:26-27:
26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. (NLT)
I believe these Bible verses, when using the term “religious” and “religion” are referring to:
the outward acts of being a believer, having a personal relationship with the Lord, doing our acts from the heart.
It is not referring to what denomination you might choose to worship with.
In verse 26 above, it can be interpreted as meaning:
“if you are doing outward acts of service, things such as giving to the needy, fasting, helping others, or worshiping in a believing community because of our relationship with the Lord” you need to also be watching what comes out of your mouth.
If our mouth is not matching up with our actions, our motives are not necessarily pure which renders them useless for furthering the Kingdom.
In verse 27 above, James says God expects us:
to have a tender heart for the orphans and widows who in Jesus’ day were often neglected rather than cared for. If we do, we are pure and genuine. It is also so important that we not let other people who might be rebelling or alienated from God get in the way of our relationship with God and serving others with a pure heart.
Luke 6:45 summarizes by saying,
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (NIV)
How can we live out these Bible verses in our present day life?
Be in right relationship with God.
Align our hearts with God.
Guard your tongue and the words that come out of your mouth.
Encourage and edify others rather than cut them down.
Is God calling you to bring an orphan into your life to care for?
If someone you know has foster children can you give them a hand sometime?
Do you know of a child that might need a little extra prayer that might fall under the category of an orphan?
Are there any widows in your church that you could go visit or reach out to?
Do you know a widow who would be blessed by some talent you have which would help them out?
Could you provide a ride to church to an elderly widow who might not otherwise be able to make it?
I believe God is calling us to not only reach out to the orphan or widow in the traditional sense of the word but to anyone we see that needs something.
–How about sharing your experience of an illness with someone else going through the same thing?
–Praying for somebody going through a difficult time or needing direction on what way they should go on a decision. I think it is always a nice touch to let people know you are praying for them, especially if they request prayer from you.
–As I was beginning to write this, I got a text from my youngest son who was at a Christian camping experience. He said he met someone who he wanted to pay for their camp experience because he found out they had to pay for it themselves, don’t really have much money and they lived with a relative of theirs. He was very impressed with the way this person really “genuinely cares about everyone and how they feel.” My son, though saving his money for a new wooden bat as he loves baseball, felt inclined to spend his money for this person’s camp experience. It reminded me of “taking care of the orphans.”
–The last two years at our travel baseball team a family has had two different foster babies. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a tender spot for holding little ones. I love to snuggle with them and pray for them…..and I’m usually pretty good at putting them to sleep. (It’s because I’m just so boring!) I have really enjoyed holding these foster children and praying for them. They are just so very precious and remind me of how much Jesus loved the little children.
I think adopting a child or being a foster parent is really a special ministry. Caring for these little ones is such a special thing and makes me think about us as God’s adopted children as well.
–Recently visiting two people at rehab centers makes me think about all the elderly or infirmed that reside in nursing homes. It really is a unique person that is called to care for them yet can’t we all go visit someone in Jesus’ name?
TAKE CARE OF THEM!
This week I encourage you to reflect on and even step out to comment in the section below….
Who are today’s widows and orphans in your life, not just literally but figuratively?
Who and what can you do for them to help take care of them in Jesus’ name?
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn. –Isaiah 61:1-2 (ESV)
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. –Ephesians 4:29 (NASB)