In parts 1&2, we saw that God’s heart for the orphan is unmistakable. He views them as very important, and worthy of His special care and attention. He sees them as naturally vulnerable, and warns us not to take advantage of them or oppress them. And He warns us that He will be their care-taker and father, defending them against us if we fail to heed His warnings. (Ps 68:5-6a, Ps 146:9, Ex 22:22-24, Deut 10:17-18, Deut 27:19, Zech 7:10a)
God tells us in His word of many specific ways we should care for orphans. And, by principled extension of His word, we can imagine many more ways that would likely fit with His instruction to care for them. everyone can do something to care for orphans. This is just a short list of ideas based mostly on some work done through the Christian Alliance for Orphans:
- Pray for them – Matt 7:7-8, Phil 4:6-7 - Tape a waiting child’s picture up and pray for the child every time you see it (get picture at AdoptUsKids.org or RainbowKids.com).Organize a prayer vigil at your church to pray for children in foster and orphanage care.
- Speak up for them – Prov 31:8-9 - Carry a waiting child’s picture and ask believers you know if they or someone they know would give the child a home. Use every means at your disposal to spread the word of waiting children (email, phone calls, etc.)… you never know who God has in mind for them.
- Provide for their needs – James 2:15-16, 2 Cor 9:6-7 - Give sacrificially to a reputable orphanage (HelpOrphans.org).Organize efforts in church to collect school supplies, shoes, etc. for orphans overseas (GainUSA.org, ShoesForOrphanSouls.org, we particularly love the ‘Both Hands’ concept that helps both orphans and widows!)
- Support those who support them – Heb 10:24 - Mow, babysit, organize meals, pray for foster or adoptive parents. Encourage a family adopting older children – they face special challenges. Stick with them… their needs don’t go away after the first couple of weeks… or years.
- Protect them from harm – Ps 146:9, Isaiah 1:16-17 - Become a foster parent or emergency foster parent. Raise money to build a children’s home to help kids stay off the streets (WorldOrphans.org).
- Visit them where they are – James 1:27 - Go on a short-term mission trip to an orphanage (GainUSA.org, HelpOrphans.org). Take dinner to a foster group-home on a regular basis.
- Give sacrificially to them – 2 Cor 9:7 - Support reputable orphan care organizations on a regular basis. Contribute to an adoptive family to help offset their costs (ShaohannahsHope.org, LifeSongForOrphans.org, Katelyn’s Fund, your own church).
- Encourage them – 1 Thess 5:14 - Sponsor a child and encourage them through letters (VisionTrust.org). Become a mentor or tutor to a teenager in a foster group-home.
- Mobilize your church for them – Matt 28:18-20 - Be a catalyst in the church for starting a sustained orphans ministry (HopeForOrphans.org).
- Brainstorm other ways – ‘crawl’, then ‘walk’, then ‘run’ for the Lord!
But let me ask the question you probably don’t want to consider… what challenge is too difficult and what price is too high? Consider the One who gave His all to reconcile us to Himself? It is He who commands us to care for the vulnerable. It is He whose heart breaks for them.
Yes, everyone can help care for the orphan. The impact of even our tiniest steps will be multiplied by His grace and power. The list of ways we can step up and participate in God’s plan to care for the orphans is limited only by the hardness of our hearts. Will you pray for a soft heart?
In part 4, we’ll extend our learning to see how adoption fits into God’s thinking about these special little ones.
~ Mr. Beaver