Sunday, October 05, 2014

CARING FOR WIDOWS, ORPHANS & THE FATHERLESS

Orphans by Thomas Kennington
Orphans by Thomas Kennington (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I WAS OUT FOR A RUN IN THE HOT, HOT SUN yesterday and my mind drifted to the plight of widows and orphans and the fatherless in our world.

I realize that this group of individuals comes in all forms. Those who have lost loved-ones to long-term illness, or an unexpected tragedy. There are orphans throughout the world, even right here in the good old USA, and of course thousands, dare I say millions, throughout the world. Children bereaved of parents due to war or epidemic or worse of all because they are simply unwanted. 

Then there are the fatherless. Those who may have a place to call home, or are cared for in some sense, yet lack the loving father that is there to protect and provide for them. However you cut it the situation for each of these groups is tragic.

I suppose that is why God, our heavenly Father has such a special place in His heart for those you suffer in these ways. He was constantly calling His chosen people back to show true righteousness and sacrifice and worship by caring for such as these. (Psalm 82:3; Psalm 68:5; Exodus 22:22-24)

And again, as a mark of the true righteous in the church, James writes,
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. (James 1:27)
Yet, in all this, what tugged at my heart most as I ran was how well do we care for the spiritual widows, orphans and fatherless?  By this I mean those who are part of our church families but attend without spouse, or without parent.  How well do we even see these as widows, orphans and the fatherless?

I know that in our church family there was those who are such. Who come week after week, hopefully not to sit alone, and yet is some real, unspoken sense, are alone. There are kids who attend our AWANA program, or weekly youth group, who may have homes to go each night, are well-fed and cared for, except when it comes to the things of the Lord.

How do we care for these? Truthfully, I don't have a list of answers except to first of all remember they are with us and second, to love well, as Peter Scazzero reminds us in his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and The Emotionally Healthy Church.

The call of the Lord still echos for us: to care for those the world has forgotten or placed aside. This is part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Let us see all, let us love all, for so the Lord did for us.

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