This past Sunday was such a sweet one as Jack and I shared about our adoption with our church family. We shared our heart for adoption, where we’re at in the process, and specific ways our church can pray (side note- I have an adoption page here on my website where I try to keep this info up to date if you’re interested). Our church has already been so wonderful through this process, and we’re extremely grateful for their love and support.
Jack then had the opportunity to preach on caring for the vulnerable, and everything he said was so good and needed for our day, that I wanted to share some thoughts on this here. Through James, God gives believers a very specific command in James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world”. As believers, we’re all commanded to care for the widow and the orphan. There are countless times throughout Scripture where we see God’s heart for the widow and fatherless. If he has a heart for them, then so should we.
I believe God cares so deeply about the widow and the orphan because they’re so physically vulnerable. I also believe he gives this command because James 1:27 is exactly what God did for us. When we were in our deepest hour of need, in our sin, Christ visited us in our affliction by dying on the cross for our sins that we may now be forgiven and a part of his forever family. Simply put, caring for the physically vulnerable is a small way we can image what God has done for us spiritually.
James 1:27 doesn’t say everyone has to adopt or foster, but it does say we’re all called to care for the widow and the orphan. If you’re called to foster or adopt, then definitely go for it! The need is so great, but there are many other ways we can serve the widow and the orphan. Here are a few super practical ways we as the church can take action in caring for the vulnerable:
- Get to know people around you who are in need- the widow, the single mom, etc. Visit them, have them over for dinner, or take them out for coffee. Friendship is such a sweet gift to give (that will bless all parties involved), and by getting to know them, our eyes will be opened to other ways we can help.
- Fix things around their house, mow their grass, do handy work, etc. I’m sure the widow and/or single mom would appreciate this so much! A family fostering children would also benefit as we would be taking some big chores off of their to-do list, so they could focus on caring for their children.
- Bring them a meal (or snacks, breakfast items, etc.). I mean, who doesn’t love and appreciate when the task of worrying about what’s for dinner is taken off of our plate?
- Offer to babysit (if you’re able, of course!).
- Buy diapers, clothes, school supplies, or other needs the children might have.
- Buy groceries, run errands, pick up medicines, etc.
- Celebrate their child. Our family and friends are INCREDIBLE at this! They’ve celebrated our daughter we’re adopting by buying her Christmas presents, giving me jewelry with her name on it, and more. They treat our “paper pregnancy” just like they did my pregnancies with the boys, and it means the world. Whether their child is in the womb, adopted, or is their home temporarily through foster care, it’s a child worth celebrating. There’s tons of ways to do this, whether it be through showers, birthday parties, or more.
- Ask for specific ways you can pray for them, and then pray! It’s a beautiful thing when we take specific requests to the Lord!
- Connect them with local ministries. We have excellent ministries for crisis pregnancies, foster care, and adoption in our area (Carolina Pregnancy Center, P.S. I Love You, QuiverFull Adoptions, Lifeline Children’s Services, Christian Adoption Services, and more). Volunteering or giving to these ministries would also be an excellent way to help!
Honestly, this just scratches the surface. There’s so much more we can do (contact these ministries I’ve listed, and I’m sure they’d love to give other ideas)! However, we don’t have to do all of these things. We’re called to humbly submit ourselves to the Father, and then obey as he leads us to fulfill James 1:27. There’s also grace in this command, as there are in all of them, because we’ll have a time we fail at this. May we repent and ask the Father to re-align our hearts with his!
I think sometimes we don’t do some of these things because they seem small to us, and we think doing them won’t matter that much. When it comes to obeying God’s commands, we’re to obey no matter how “big” or “small” they might seem in our eyes or the eyes of the world. However, as someone who has been the recipient of kind gestures, they really do mean the world and none of them ever seem “small”. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone or to do for others. They’ll be blessed by it!
Christians, we have to do more than share a Facebook post about our stance on life. We must live out the commands in Scripture to love on and help the vulnerable. May we love them and point them to the greatest love, that of Jesus Christ. May we willingly sacrifice our time, resources, money, and whatever else the Lord gifts us with for the sake of loving God and loving people.