I have always had compassion for orphans. Every time I saw a picture of an orphaned child or watched a moving video about orphans, it tugged on my heart strings. How could it not? But to be honest, I never really did much about it...sure I did a few little things to help, but nothing sacrificial or life altering. Then I felt the CALL...and it changed everything.
For me the call came about a year ago. My wife had this crazy idea about forming a non profit to help mobilize the church to engage the orphan crises through adoption, foster care and orphan care. She would talk often about how she felt like God was calling her to someday leave her job as a social worker and do this instead. I thought it was a cool idea. I figured maybe we'd get around to it someday...someday when it was more convenient. Maybe when I felt more qualified to take on such a huge task. Maybe when we had a little more money and we could actually afford for her not to work. Maybe when...
My list of excuses and fears was long.
I don't know how to describe to you the exact moment this transitioned from an idea to a calling but at some point it happened. One day I found myself lying on my office floor sobbing over the state of orphans in this world. I began to notice verses in the bible about God adopting me into His family when I was a spiritual orphan. I began to grow discontent with the fact that I really wasn't doing much to help the 132 million children classified as orphans in this world. And my excuses began to diminish in the light of God's heavy calling on my life.
Who cares if we have no money, God has called us to do this so He will provide.
Who cares if we have no experience, neither did Moses but God gave him influence.
Who cares if it's inconvenient, isn't everything God asks us to do inconvenient?
It was as if He was telling me "This isn't something you can do at your convenience. This isn't optional. If you want to live by faith I'm calling you to care for my children. NOW."
That's what a calling is.
A calling is so strong that you can't ignore it because to do anything less than what God has called you to do is disobedience.
Now, enough about our story, I want to talk about your story. Here's the crazy thing...I believe you're CALLED BY GOD to care for orphans too! Sure, you may not be called to found a non-profit to help orphans but you're certainly called to care for them. Don't believe me? Listen to God's word:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those who are perishing. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice. Proverbs 31:8-9
Give up your wicked ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows. Isaiah 1:16-17
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says...look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep yourself from being polluted by the world. James 1:22,27
I could go on but I think you get the point. And here's the crazy thing! Just as the good news of John 3:16 was written not just to a select few, but to all Christians, these verses are also written to all of us who follow Christ.
For some reason, we like to claim our favorite verses as applying to ourselves and difficult verses as applying to other people. But that's not the way it works! Scripture is clear, caring for orphans isn't a job for the select few: the pastors, social workers and professionals. This is a calling for ALL Christians. In case I haven't been clear enough let me spell it out for you: YOU are called to care for orphans.
The question is not SHOULD I care for orphans, but rather HOW is God calling me to care for orphans?
We all have excuses. Fears. I realize that. Whitney and I are still scared out of our minds to do this thing. I have absolutely no idea how this is going to work. I'm operating completely by faith. But calling trumps fear. Calling trumps all your excuses.
Some of you are called to adopt a child or become a foster parent. It doesn't matter what fears and excuses you might have, you are CALLED to do it. Don't let your fears and excuses keep you from being obedient to God.
ALL of you are called to care for the orphan in some way. God's calls you to. His word is clear. So next blog I'm going to give you a bunch of ideas for how you can help. I'll title it "20 ways everyone can help orphans."
Don't ignore the call. Embrace it.