Introduction:

As the church of Christ, we believe every child deserves a loving, lifelong family of their own. And the church is the most capable of making that happen. Caring for orphans is a mandate from God, because it mirrors the heart of God. The Bible is full of verses demonstrating God’s concern for orphans: Psalm 68:5-6: “Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families;, ….”  The orphan’s story is at the heart of the Gospel as God sought out each one of us when we were destitute and alone. In this week’s message we look at how we as believers can help meet the needs of orphans around the corner and around the world.

Bottom Line: We are God’s Plan A for people without families.

Something To Talk About:

Everyone can’t adopt or foster. But everyone can and should do something. First we can pray. Pray for the parents who can no longer care for their children for whatever reason. Pray for the children who find themselves without a family structure. Pray for the social workers, judges, lawyers, and service providers who work day in and day out to make the world a better place for hurting children and families. If you wish to go a step further, investigate ways that you can get involved. Don’t worry if you lack experience. Allow God to expand your vision and fill your heart with courage to step out in faith and confidence that He will direct your steps. It is important because orphans are:

  1. Not a number or stat: All of them have a name and a story: I heard someone once say that if we are not careful, statistics can become people without tears. We can be so bombarded with statistics that they stop representing people. Still, the statistics are startling and sobering when you consider estimates of 143 million children are orphans. But each one represents a child who is precious in the eyes of God. But rather than let these overwhelming statistics discourage you, pray and ask God where you can help. God calls each of us to care for the needs of waiting children. Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” So what do we do with all this information? Refuse to listen to it? Hope somebody else gets involved? Burn out by trying to solve it all ourselves? No, no and no. What is needed is for every believer to do something, not everything. 
  2. God cares about children more than we can imagine: Why should we care about orphans, after all we have our own problems. We care because God cares. It is clear that God identifies with the poor, marginalized, and oppressed—the orphan is all of these—and that God desires for us to do so as well. Isaiah 58: 7 says, “Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.”  And what about Matthew 25: 40 which says, “…’I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’  While this Scripture does not mention orphans specifically, I cannot help but believe that when Jesus is speaking about ministering to “the least of these,” He is talking about orphans. God cares for the fatherless so passionately that to overlook doing so in our own lives is to miss this about Him.
  3. It won’t be easy. The child is worth it: Doing something in the area of orphans may cost you. Maybe some money, certainly some time, definitely some energy, and more than likely some emotion, convenience, comfort and normalcy. No one ever said, “I want to take on a new challenge, but I don’t expect my life to be any different than today.” No. Nothing will be the same. Everything changes because of it. It’s important to be aware of the costs; to not go into this with rose colored lenses on. Yet, at the end of the day, we must accept the costs to us as worth it for the gain a child may receive. This is exactly what Jesus has done for us. He joyfully laid down the infinite value of His own life so that we might know the immeasurable worth of being fully and unconditionally loved in Him. A child is always worth the process and more valuable than the costs. Always.

Questions:

  1. Read Deuteronomy 14:28-29: What does God call on his people to do for orphans? What does that indicate about the heart of God for orphans? What do these verses mean to you personally?
  2. Do you have a desire to meet the needs of orphans? Why? What motivates you to care for them? Are there ways God has used you in the past to care for the orphan? How have you been encouraged by how He has used others?
  3. What does God’s consistent concern for the orphan reveal about how He feels about you?
  4. What are some ways that you believe God might call you to care for the orphans in the future?
  5. What steps can you take to make your heart more like God’s with regard to orphans?

Take One Thing Home with You:

Are we too busy?  Don’t get me wrong, there are seasons of life that are nothing short of chaotic and hectic. We’ve got a lot on our plates and most if not all of it is important – responsibilities we can’t neglect and things that just have to get done. These are very real and legitimate places that people frequently find themselves. Busyness is not a trophy for them, it’s actually a ball-and-chain.

But there’s also times when, if we’re honest, our problem is not that we’re busy; it’s that we’re busy with things that don’t really matter. It’s not the responsibilities in front of us that take away from other things. It’s actually the opposite. It’s choosing other things – lesser things – that take away from the greater opportunities before us. I don’t believe being busy is a problem; I believe being busy with the wrong things is. I don’t know about you but I want to lay my head down every night exhausted, because I spent my energy on doing what God wanted me to do today, not from investing all my time on things that don’t matter. Consider this when you think about what you can do to help orphans and widows this week.