Faith Expressing Itself Through Love
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
James teaches us the outward expression of our inward faith should move us to the action of love resulting in the care of orphans and widows.
So we believe in our heart, we express our belief through love and we channel our love to those who are the most vulnerable in society, those with no ability to care for themselves and no one to care for them otherwise.
Faith - Love - Action - Orphan & Widow and/or those who can’t help themselves.
The truth is our faith can not remain stagnant. Like a river, it has to flow and move outward or it starts to stink. Water not moving is unhealthy and faith not expressing itself becomes dead. Paul wrote the Galatians telling them the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love. Love is not a feeling or a sentiment. It is a verb, an action and a movement of the heart of God’s people to manifest the glory of God in a fallen world. Love acts in a way that cares for not the high and lofty, not the proud and self-sufficient, not those of the upper echelon, but the weak, the hurting, the vulnerable of our society. God defines that as religion he approves of.
The timeless truth of this call to the believer to put our religion into practice is still as relevant today as it was when it was first written. The weak of society are still overlooked, undervalued and have little to no opportunity to get out the situation they are in save the intervention of God working through his church, taking the Bible literally and seriously and take a step to help those who can’t help themselves. The orphan and the widow.
They can’t and may not ever be able to repay you. They have nothing to give you. They may not even at first at least appreciate your effort to care. They may reject the help at first. You may need to persistently love when you are getting nothing in return.
But taking care of orphans and widows is the expression of our faith that God says is pleasing to him. So if you are asking the Father to use you for his glory and serve him, God is looking for those who take the Bible literally and serve those who can’t help themselves.
And to make this closer to home, caring for orphans and widows isn’t something you have to leave the country to do. As of 2014 there were about 23,000 orphans in NY State. No they aren’t living in the streets, dirty and homeless. Instead they are living couch to couch, home to home, stuck in the foster care system of New York and without a place to call home.
To make that statistic even closer to home, there are 851 orphans in Erie County and 188 in Niagara County, according to Every Child Ministries. The problem is many of these children face neglect, abuse, abandonment and fall prey to a broken system that hasn’t really been impacted by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The temptation for us as believers is to allow the government to care for foster children when the Church of Jesus has the mandate, responsibility and opportunity to do so. To look after them. Take them in. Share the love of Christ with them and together with other believers raise them in a community of faith that share the truth of God’s word with them.
That restores them. Heals them. Teaches them their identity as an adopted son or daughter of God, dearly loved and deeply treasured by Jesus Christ who did not spare his own life for them.
The truth of the matter is this type of ministry has to come from the heart of God’s people in response to the call of God as revealed by the Spirit of God, not a mandate from the corporate church but a response of love from the heart of an individual, eager to serve God. The truth is this type of ministry isn’t glamorous. It’s not recognized by an audience of people. You may not receive accolades or honor before people. People may look at you strange, think of you less, stare, wonder, murmur or whisper about you and your odd family. But God will smile. Rejoice. Reward you in heaven. It’s worth the cost and a ministry that needs to be highlighted by churches and esteemed by pastors. Victories need to be recognized and testimonies shared. Together as the church of Jesus expressed in families of faith need to change our world, one child at a time.
It’s to these Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.“ Matthew 19:14
Perhaps we as believers need to highlight this particular text of Scripture and the call of God’s people to action would be a an order. James said faith without works is dead. So many people are looking to be involved in ministry and serve. Perhaps a challenge out of complacency and apathy is required for me and other believers to fulfill the Great Commission locally and abroad. The truth is, we can and need to address this issue so that the heart of God can be expressed through the people of God to those who God treasures most, those with no power, no voice, no influence, but dear to the heart of God. As servants of Christ, let’s open our hearts and see what God would have us to do to be his hands and feet in a broken world.