Sunday, November 3, 2013

Orphan Sunday: Do You Have Room?

Today is Orphan Sunday. Each year, on the first Sunday of November, churches and ministries all across America set aside time to advocate for the fatherless around the globe. Sitting here this morning and thinking about our own children who fall into this category, I am a little floored by the fact that I had never even heard of Orphan Sunday until last November, when we were well into the adoption process.

Why would that be? 

I think maybe because, as a society at large, we don't want to talk about it. It makes us uncomfortable. It is easier to think that everyone in the world has the kind of life we do. Maybe we think it is someone else's problem. We are "called" to take care of the fatherless; we are "called" to do other things instead. Maybe we say that the problem is just too big. Current estimates put the number of orphaned children in the world at 153 MILLION. That is a number beyond our comprehension. So what difference would we really make if we helped just one child? Even just ten? Even just 100? It is too overwhelming, and so we resolve to do nothing. To live our lives each day choosing to be blind to the fact that there are 153 million children alive today who will grow up without parents. 

That is not the solution. 

For those of us who think that orphan care is someone else's issue, think that we are not called to take care of the fatherless. You are right. We are not called. We are commanded. God commands us to look after the fatherless. In fact, that is what He calls "pure and faultless religion." It isn't going to church every single Sunday for our entire lives or being on a bunch of church committees or even tithing faithfully (though all of those things are good, too!). But pure religion isn't just doing religious activities. It is taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves, protecting the vulnerable, loving those who have been given up or abandoned. This is pure and faultless religion because it requires sacrifice. It isn't easy. It isn't glamourous. It doesn't give us applause. It's messy. It's hard. It hurts. But it is what God commands us to do. For every Christian out there, orphan care is not an option. It is a command. 

For those of us who think the problem is just too big. You are right, too! It is huge. Truly unfathomable. 153 million orphans in the world? I have never even seen 153 million of anything. Maybe grains of sand on the beach. But even then, our minds cannot comprehend that number. But what about the number 7. That one we can comprehend. We see 7 all the time. If just 7% of professing Christians in the world would adopt just one orphan, then the orphan crisis would cease to exist. There would be no more orphans in the world. Isn't that crazy? But until that happens, what do the rest of us do? It is easy to sit back and think that because we cannot fix the whole problem that we just can't do anything. That is not true! You can change the world for one or two or three. I know that sometimes seeing a number like 153 million causes us to just categorize these children, label them as "orphans" and then hold them at arm's length. The number is too big for it to be personal. It is easier to generalize. But each one of those 153 million is a person. A living and breathing person with a heart and soul and a desire to be loved and protected. Each one has a story, part of which has been written and part of which is waiting to be told. We have the opportunity to step in and help tell the rest of a child's story. What an honor that is! I know the number is huge, but that whole great big  number is made up of individual people. People who need us. 

I recently watched a video that really just rocked me to the core of my being. It is about caring for the fatherless and why it is God's heart. Please take a minute to watch it. 

So my question for you today, on Orphan Sunday, is this. 

Do you have room? 

Do you have room in your home and in your heart for at least one of these little ones? 

Could God be asking you to step out in faith and commit to bringing one of these children into your home, your family and your life? 

Would you pray about it? 

You could end up being an instrument for a beautiful display of God's glory. 

I know not everyone is called to adopt. But we are all commanded to care for the fatherless. There are tons of ministries out there that support orphans all over the world. You can partner with these to bring hope to orphans. Here are a few: 


I want to leave you with something our pastor said. It resonates with me, and I hope it does with you, too. 

"We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.”

Everything certainly does change. 

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this, to look after orphans and widows in their distress." 
James 1:27


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