I remember a sermon my dad used to preach when we were on furlough from the mission field. He would ask a simple question, “Why were you born in the United States?” He would explain the responsibility that the fortunate have to bless and minister to the unfortunate. His argument was simple but profound: those who can bless others should.
I preached from Deuteronomy 10:12–22 on Sunday. In the text, we saw the compassionate concern God exercises for the orphan, the widow, and the sojourner. We also saw that God commands His people to mimic His compassion for the positionless and marginalized. During the sermon, I suggested some practical ways to serve orphans, widows, and sojourners. I presented five categories for engagement: we can pray, give, support, serve, and/or go.
In this three-part blog series, I will suggest some specific ideas for how we can leverage our resources for the sake of orphans, widows, and sojourners.
First, let’s examine options for ministering to orphans.
Every believer can and should be praying for the global plight of the orphan. The Christian Alliance for Orphans estimates there are 140 million orphans in the world. The number of “double orphans,” meaning children with no living father or mother, is 15.1 million. In this country, there are almost 112,000 children awaiting adoption and over 427,000 in foster care. Every Christian should pray that the defender of the orphan would settle these children in homes.
There are many local churches and parachurch organizations that minister to the orphan. One option we have to obey God’s commands to love the orphan is to partner with a Christ-centered organization that is working to place orphaned children in loving homes. You can find a list of Christ-centered orphan care organizations HERE.
My wife and I have personally worked with and recommend the following organizations:
Lifeline Children’s Services
Lifesong for Orphans
Karis Adoption Fund
There are dozens of reputable organizations that could use your gifts and support.
Another excellent option is to give to a family that is in the process of adopting or fostering.
Every foster parent I’ve ever met struggles with frustration and weariness. Every parent I know could use a break from time to time. A kind word from a friend or a volunteer babysitter can go a long way to encourage parents. Of course, prayer is a wonderful way to support families working in this area. But we can also take other practical steps to support our friends and neighbors who are working on the front lines of orphan care.
Your time is arguably your most valuable resource. And for some of us who have very little wiggle room in our monthly budgets, giving of your time is the best way (after prayer) that we can make an impact. You could volunteer with a great organization from the list above. You could become a child advocate in the foster care system. You could provide respite care for foster children. Contact me if you would like more information on how to serve in the area of foster care.
The Lord may be calling many of us to open our own home to orphans. I would urge you to pray and ask God if He is calling you to foster or to adopt. Maybe He is calling you to go on a mission trip to care for orphans somewhere overseas. Contact me if you would like more information on domestic and/or international adoption.
Here’s what we know: God loves adoption. He loves to take up the cause of the weak and the marginalized. And He loves to use ordinary believers to accomplish His purposes.
How is He calling you to obey His command to love the orphan?
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