What does God say about orphans?
July 4, 2011
All of us have seen commercials, read articles and heard stories emphasizing the dire need of millions of orphaned and vulnerable children around the world. Many of us know some of the staggering statistics by heart:
– There are 143,000,000 orphans in the world today.
– Over 400,000 children are currently in foster care in the United States.
– 5,760 children are orphaned every day due to AIDS in Africa.
– Every 2.2 seconds, an orphan child ages out of his/her orphanage system, facing the streets alone.
– 16,000 children die each day from hunger-related causes worldwide.*
When we hear these mind-boggling numbers, we are all moved to do something to help. The problem is so glaring that we know we can’t simply ignore it. And thankfully, hundreds of organizations and millions of people around the world are indeed doing something about it.
But as Christians, our call to help those in need comes from an even deeper place. Frankly, we shouldn’t respond to those in need just because it’s “the right thing to do,” but because God commands us to.
Did you know there are over 100 verses in the Bible relating to caring for orphans, widows and others in need? Many of these verses are straightforward calls to action for Christians to come to the aid of the orphan.
In His word, God tells us that…
– He is the Father to the fatherless:
“The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicket he brings to ruin.” – Psalm 146:9
– Caring for orphans is at the heart of religion:
“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” – James 1:27
– We should fight for the cause of the vulnerable and oppressed:
“Learn to do good; seek justice; correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s case.” – Isaiah 1:17
– We should uphold justice for the orphan:
“Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.” –Deuteronomy 24:17
– We should speak up for those who are unable to defend themselves:
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” – Proverbs 31:8-9
– We should give freely to the vulnerable and weak:
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – Acts 20:35
– In serving others, we are also serving Christ:
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” – Matthew 25:40
Simply put, God cares deeply for the weak and vulnerable – including the orphaned child. And caring for these children is not optional. In fact, it’s at the very root of who Christ is as well as the love God has already shown us.
The Bible tells us that we were once without a father too, enslaved by our sin. But God sent his Son – Jesus Christ – to atone for our sins and make us children of God (Galatians 4:1-7).
Yep, that’s right – as Christians we are adopted into God’s family as sons and daughters. How amazing is that! No wonder God commands us to care for the children we see in need today.
So the next time you hear another haunting statistic about orphaned and vulnerable children in our world, remember that taking action isn’t just a good thing, it’s a God thing.
*Statistics according to US Department of Health and Human Services, The Home for Good Foundation, and Bread For The World.