The Ministry of Visitation
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.
Have you ever been visited when you were in a hospital? Or have you visited someone when they were sick? Sometimes that’s one of the most important things you can do for a person who is sick or hurting -- just being near them tells them that you care.
James, as the brother of Jesus, would have remembered many of Jesus’s messages about visiting the sick, poor and needy. Here, he specifically references orphans and widows, which we will discuss at greater length tomorrow. For now, let’s consider the importance of calling on those who are hurting.
Jesus often taught on the importance of visiting with the poor, the sick, and the needy. In fact, Jesus said, when you love the least of people, you are loving God. (Matthew 25:40). Jesus was trying to tell His disciples that when they love others in need, it moves the very heart of God, and publicly demonstrates their faith as genuine to the world around them. Few things authenticate one’s faith more than serving those that have nothing to offer in return.
Furthermore, Jesus went so far to say, in essence, that those who neglect earning for the poor, prove themselves to have no faith in Christ at all (Matthew 25:41-46). For Jesus, to love those in need was to love God – and not to do so meant they were not followers of Jesus to begin with.
Question: Are you visiting those in need?
Prayer: Lord, reveal to my mind, who I need to visit to encourage or help this week. In Jesus name, Amen.