Orphans and Widows

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. —James 1:27 ESV

Who do you think are the most needy people in your city? Single moms? Drug addicts? The unemployed? The homeless?
In the world of the New Testament, the most needy people were widows and orphans. Widows were needy because in that culture a woman needed a man to provide for her. There were not many opportunities for women back then. They were extremely dependent on men for their well-being. Orphans were very needy for the same reasons that they are needy in our world today. It’s really hard to live as a child without any parents. Can you imagine that?
God calls His people to meet the needs of people like this. Do you know why that is? It probably has something to do with the fact that we were once spiritually poor, marginalized, broken, and needy; and God rescued us and adopted us into His forever family. When we treat people in our world in the same way that He has treated us, it displays that we are thankful. God loves to see His children responding to Him this way. He cares greatly how we treat people who are cast aside and needy.
It doesn’t matter how much time you spend at church or if you have a church sticker on your car. If you don’t care about the most marginalized and helpless in our society, God is saying through James that your religious beliefs are impure and defiled.

Read Psalm 68:5-6
• How does God define Himself in these verses?
• If God calls us to imitate Him in this way, what does that mean for us?
• How can we as a family participate in meeting the needs of the most needy in our city or around the world?

Our Father, help us remember who we were when You saved us. We were lost without You interceding in our lives and making us Your own. You showered Your grace upon us and as a result we have a hope and a future. May we seek to show our love for You in the way we treat those in our world who have no hope or future. Open our eyes to the needs around us and empower us by Your Spirit to love people well in this way. In Jesus’ name, amen.