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The orphan and the widow

May 15, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

“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)

This past Sunday, we considered the incredible reality that all who come to faith in Christ have been adopted into the family of God. One of the implications of this truth is that as we imitate our Father – in love, in holiness, in good works, and even in suffering – we bring honor to Him, just as we bring honor or dishonor to our earthly parents by the way we live our lives.

One clear witness of the Bible about our heavenly Father is that He has a deep concern for the most vulnerable in society. Most often, these are referred to as the orphan and the widow, although at other places in the Bible this population may include the alien, the poor, the hungry, and the prisoner. James, in the verse printed above, goes as far as to say that pure religion displays itself not only in holy living but also in caring for the least vulnerable in their distress.

In both chapter 1 and chapter 2 of his letter, James places a heavy emphasis on the reality that faith which does not express itself in good works is useless. With that in mind, consider in your life where you might take the opportunity to display your faith through your concern for the most vulnerable. Is there someone in a nursing home, or a shut-in you know that you can visit? How can you care for the fatherless or the orphan? Who is vulnerable and in need in your community? This past week, I saw signs put out by a local church offering free oil changes to single moms and single women in their community on Mother’s Day weekend. Is this not the love of our Father in action? And when you hear of churches doing things like that, do not the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:16 ring true: “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Out of His great love for us, the Father has adopted us into His family, even when it cost His Son His life. Consider how you might imitate your Father by sharing in His sufferings, so that you might bring life to others and glory to your Father in heaven.

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