|Picture taken this August when I was in St. Petersburg Russia|
Orphan Sunday, a day set apart to worship God through loving care of the fatherless and vulnerable, is almost over. It was amazing to hear believers praying in Indonesian, Amharic, Swahili, Vietnamese, Russian, Spanish, and of course English that the church might see the world with God's compassionate eyes; that we would be courageous and adopt as God adopted us; that the church would wake up out of self-absorption and shine Christ's light and love on the world.
Orphan care is not a social gospel movement; it's not to make us feel good about ourselves; it's not even ultimately about the orphans themselves. It's about God. It's that His name deserves to be glorified among all peoples; it's that He's a big and compassionate God and calls us to be compassionate as well. It's that He's the Father of the fatherless and He places the lonely in families. Orphan care is about missions; it's about giving the broken and hopeless healing and hope through the precious news of a Savior and Rescuer who loves them and cares for them.
God doesn't call a few people to care for the orphan, the widow, and the stranger. In His word, He clearly calls all His people to demonstrate His love to the needy. It may not be comfortable or easy, but if you step out in obedience, you will come to know our compassionate God more deeply and He will shower His blessings and His care upon you. So how can you get involved? Here's just a few ideas (if you hadn't noticed I like lists so here goes another one!):
- Visit http://www.christianalliancefororphans.org/ for ideas, resources, and information, all presented in a God-honoring, Biblical way.
- Pray for orphans. Choose a country or a certain group (foster care, teens, kids with HIV, etc.) and pray for them on a daily basis. God will hear your prayer and answer in amazing ways!
- Pray that the church will be a shining light to unbelievers through loving care of the needy. Here's a wonderful example of the church doing just that.
- Support an adoptive family. Pray for them, provide meals for them, babysit, organize a fundraiser, give financially, listen to them, and encourage them-and please don't forget them after their adoption! Wonderful College Plus friends provided incredible prayer cover and our church provided amazing help in other ways during our family's last adoption and I literally cannot tell you how much that meant. It is thanks to the support of loving friends that we are doing as well as we are.
- Start an orphan care ministry in your church. See the Christian Alliance for Orphans site above for help
- Pack a shoe box...or two...or ten for Operation Christmas Child!
- Investigate how you can love on local foster kids.
- Support a local foster family.
- Adopt. If you are holding back on this because of fear, step out anyway. God will take care of you. If you are holding back because of finances, step out anyway. God (and hopefully the church) will take care of you. If you are holding back because of selfishness, I've been there and done that-repent and start the adoption process! You will be blessed and stretched beyond your wildest imagination, and you will change the life, and perhaps eternal life of an orphan forever.
I'm wrapping this up because I've said way too much again. But please, don't read through this and think "this is for someone else." No. We were loved by God and adopted by Him when we hated Him and were hostile to Him. We all are called, we all are given the privilege of spreading God's praise and making His name beautiful by self sacrificially loving the broken and needy.
So will you answer the call?