Monday, November 1, 2010

Manna Monday

Interesting, isn’t it?

That the things that seem to concern the heart of God the most are some of the most neglected by the church.

What do I mean?

Well, the widows, orphans, and foreigners.

In fact, many times throughout Scripture these three groups are targeted as specifically venerable and groups that move the heart of God.

Want some examples?:

Zechariah 7:10 “Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.” (New Living Translation)

James 1:7 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. (New International Version)

Isaiah 1:17 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow (New International Version)

Tell me, when was the last time your church had a heart for foster children? Are they not the ‘orphans’ of America? What about homeless children who are right down the road from you?

Here in the U.S alone there are 1 million homeless children. Beyond that, there are seven hundred thousand children in foster care Does your church even care?

And lets think about the widows. Often, this translates to the elderly population. How much respect is given to elderly? Are they revered, or are they treated as if they are ‘slower’ and as if they haven’t lived at least twice as many years as you have??

Immigrants? What about them? Who in your church is reaching out to these individuals? Who is helping them when care is not available?

My point is, as the body of Christ, we really are lacking in the areas that God has called specific attention to over and over in the Bible.

Can I share with you why I feel that He has called us to minister specifically to these?

Because they are some of the most vulnerable among us.

Orphans are without parents to care for them and often have unpredictable lives.

Widows have lost their spouse who was most likely a financial, emotional, physical, and relational support for them.

Immigrants are in a foreign land with strange customs and possible language barriers. Often, they are alone and trying to make their way without help.

And is the Lord not concerned with the weak and weary?

I believe He is.

I was speaking with my mother the other day and she was saying that she heard from a pastor in a sermon a certain statistic she wanted to pass along.

The statistic stated the following: “If every church across the U.S. just had ONE family in the each church adopt ONE child, that would take care of every single child in need of adoption today.”

I looked it up, and he appears to be correct. According to the most recent statistics (taken in 2009), 700,000 were in foster care. Of those, 115,000 are currently awaiting adoption through foster care (US Dept of Health and Human Services, 2010).

The Hartford Institute for Religion Research (2006) states that there are approximately 322,000 Christian churches in the U.S.
Therefore, there are more than enough churches to adopt.

And yet how many are pushing for this?

How many are fighting for the rights of orphans, widows, and immigrants?

I know many are.

But also, many aren’t.

How will this change?

If we, the body of Christ, start to push for congregations that look much closer to the heart of God than they do.

My specific church does a great job with ministering to immigrants, however we are lacking in our efforts for widows and orphans.

What about yours?

Do some research, and see what is being done.

And beyond this, what are YOU doing?

Are you reaching out to these vulnerable populations?

Just something to think about

The church would be a lot more welcoming if it looked more like Christ and less like people...

**Looking for other Manna Monday posts? Click the Manna Monday link at the bottom of this post.**