Orphan care is trending these days. It seems I hear every week about a new organization, a new adoptive or foster parent, a new effort by churches to take care of "the least of these." It's a really great thing to be popular! But these ideas are not at all new. It has always been God's strategy to use his people to care for those in need.
A few groups specifically mentioned repeatedly throughout Scripture apply to us in orphan care. Orphans are fatherless, they are children, and they are poor. We are commanded to care for the fatherless, to receive children in Jesus' name, and to take care of the poor.
God has special concern for the fatherless. He provided for them in the law. He promised that he, himself, would bring them justice if the Israelites failed to, and refusal to follow these laws is one of the reasons cited for the Israelites being taken into exile. He was disgusted by the Israelites' observation of religious ceremony not only because they were worshiping other gods, but also because they were neglecting their responsibility to those in need.
Isaiah 1:13-20We are not Israelites. We are not bound by the Law. We are free in Christ. We don't have to do these things for the sake of being made right with God or salvation. Only Jesus saves us, and only his sacrifice can make us right with God. If we could become righteous by any other means, Jesus wouldn't have had to die. Our salvation is secure. So what does this have to do with us?
Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow's cause.
"Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord:
"though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Don't you see?
God invites us to join what he is doing, for our enjoyment and his glory.
Think about this:
As a child, your mom or dad would invite you to participate in their hobby. What a joy! Just hanging out with your parent, getting to know them in different ways, enjoying time together. Or think of "take your child to work day." It wouldn't complete your education or give you job skills, training, or future employment options, but it was valuable to you as a child because you got to do what your mom or dad was doing.
God wants us to go to work with him.
The stakes are higher. It may cost us our comfort or more. But, as my husband said during MK Kenya staff devotions recently: Considering that Jesus died for all of us, how could I call anything I give up a sacrifice? There is no sacrifice I could make.
On the other hand, the benefits are higher. We get to be closer to God, to experience joy and peace in his presence, being used as his hands and feet. AND those in need are provided for in miraculous ways. God shows his love and care for them through us. His glory is made known. In other words, people come to know how wonderful and amazing he is.
If you are American, there are a few ways you can be involved in what God is doing here in Kenya with Maisha Kamili, like financial partnership, prayer, ministering to us, pitching in by coming to Kenya for a special project. We believe that God has invited and will invite many of you to join us.
If you are Kenyan, you are on the front lines of what God is doing here. We are working on a plan to help you get involved personally. Maisha Kamili is to be a community effort, and if you live here, guess what! You are part of the community. Is God inviting you to join in?