Please bear with me for a few minutes…I’m going to put on my “Preacher’s Hat”. My wife and I have been caring for children who are orphaned, abandoned and abused for many many years. We have heard the full range of comments ranging from those who have a profound passion to care for orphans, all the way to the other side of the spectrum with the attitude that caring for orphans is only a priority for those who have the special “calling” from the Lord to do so. It is very sad to say, but the latter statement seems to be the prevailing attitude with a large percentage of Christians.
It is a fact…Anna and I have a full-time calling to provide a home for orphans…but caring for orphans is NOT a “specialized” ministry, mandated to a select few individuals that God chooses, but rather it is a direct command of the Lord that EVERY CHRISTIAN provide in some way, for orphans and the fatherless. No one is called to do everything, but everyone is called to do something.
For a vast majority of the Christian community, the cause of the orphans and the fatherless is at or near the very bottom of the priority list (if its even on the list at all) of things that need to be supported. It is disappointing that many pastors do not teach their congregations about the importance of obeying the Lord concerning the care and support of orphans. I am so very thankful for the many that do, but there a still many that don’t.
We have been extremely blessed to be connected to some tremendous pastors that truly understand that the Lord has instructed His Church to care for those who can’t care for themselves.
A pastor made a statement to me one time, that I’m sure he intended to be a word of encouragement. It was shortly before I opened the first White Stone Children’s Home in Texas in 1990. He saw that I was discouraged for the abundant lack of concern for orphans that I was dealing with in my local area, and he said “relax…even Jesus said that we would always have the poor with us”. He was referring to John 12:8. So his counsel to me was that I shouldn’t get so worked up because, after all, even Jesus inferred that the problem of the numbers of the poor and the disenfranchised was something that could not be overcome. He was not the only one to quote that verse to me. I realized that maybe this verse was being used to provide an excuse why the person was not involved in supporting a ministry such as ours and made him feel better that he was in the same company as Jesus in this issue…BUT…Jesus was making the very opposite case for giving to the orphan…the widow…the poor. Yes it’s true that Jesus made that statement…but that is not what he meant. Jesus was actually quoting from Deuteronomy 15:7-11. Here is that verse Jesus was referring to: “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be … For the poor you will always have with you in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ So the statement Jesus made in The Book of John, when we understand that some had taken out of context was, that we are to “open wide our hand” to help the helpless.
Growing up, my father was a very strict man. A couple of his well-used phrases were: “How many times do I have to tell you that…I told you once and thats enough!”. Then there’s this one: “Do you think I told you to do that just to hear my head rattle?” …and finally the one that came after I tried to provide a rebuttal for one of his instructions at which time I asked him “why do I have to do that?”…and his answer, accompanied by a stare that could drive nails through a 2x4, was “BECAUSE I SAID SO!”.
You and I have a Heavenly Father. A Father that is also very strict, BUT very loving. He is most definitely full of grace and full of mercy, and He loves us with a love that is incomprehensible by out finite minds, …but that does not make Him wishy washy when it comes to His expectation that we obey His mandates declared in His Word. So when I see a scripture that tells me that I have a responsibility to do a certain thing, then I find other scriptures that say it a 2nd time and then a 3rd time, my Earthly father’s words echo in my mind concerning my Heavenly Father: “God told me more than once and that’s enough”…”He didn’t tell me that just to hear His head rattle” and finally, I need to just obey, BECAUSE GOD SAID SO!
I have found 188 verses in the Bible relating to the care and support of the poor, the orphans and the the widows and I have discovered 44 of these that relate to orphans and widows specifically….so I think you would agree that God is serious about caring for the orphans.
It is certainly a fact that God has chosen folks like Anna and I for a lifelong, full-time ministry of caring for orphans, but He has made it abundantly clear in His Word that all believers must help in some way.
We often encourage our staff not to be “weary in well doing”, as we have not only a responsibility to care for the children in the daily mundane tasks of cleaning, cooking and changing diapers, but to be mindful of the fact that we might very well have the next “Mexican Billy Graham” in our home, and our work has great eternal consequences. So we take our responsibilities to the children very seriously.
As I was writing this newsletter, I was reminded about the story of Queen Esther. If you have never read the story of Esther in the Bible, I encourage you to do so….It has all the mystery, romance and intrigue equal to any Hollywood production. I will not tell the entire story here, but I need for the readers to understand the highlights.
Esther was born at a time when Israel was held in captivity in Persia as a consequence of their disobedience to God. Esther’s parents were killed when she was quite young, and then adopted by a relative named Mordecai. So not only was Esther a helpless child growing up in a foreign land and was part of a captive race which was held in low esteem, but she was also an orphan.
So just how important was this orphan?
Through a series of God-designed events and situations, Esther miraculously became the wife of King Xerxes…the Persian King. A plot had been designed by a top advisor to the king to annihilate the Jewish people, but because Esther had gained such favor with the King and was willing to stand up for her people, the plot was not only stopped but the fate the advisor had planned for the Jews was turned upon him.
Through Esther’s resolve to trust in God, she influenced the king and saved her people. Her courage was celebrated by a feast of Purim and a decree went out from that day on, “these days of Purim should be remembered and kept throughout every generation” (Esther 9:28).
Esther is one of only two books of the Bible named after a woman … an orphan living in a foreign land. An ordinary woman who God raised up to be a Persian queen for a purpose she never could have imagined. To this day Purim is observed by Esther’s people.
So…here’s my question again: Is it really so important to rescue and provide a home to orphans?
I believe that you will agree with me that the answer is an overwhelming YES!
And here’s my followup question: What are you doing to help an orphan or fatherless child?
Simply ask the Lord to guide you as you prayerfully consider what God would have you to do. Please understand that I am not suggesting that you MUST support us, because God may have another plan for you. There maybe an orphan or fatherless child in your area that desperately needs help. You may already know of a children’s home that your church already supports and I encourage to connect with them…but…if not please ask the Lord if you are supposed to connect with us. We can only affect the lives of the children that we can financially care for. So we are also ways asking the Lord for partners to join with us…and maybe you are one of those. No matter what you do, please reach out to the orphans.