Topic: Listeners and Doers [December 3, 2016]
Read: James 1:22–27, Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 45–46; 1 John 2
Look after orphans and widows in their distress. James 1:27
The phone rang in the night for my husband, a minister. One of the prayer warriors in our church, a woman in her seventies who lived alone, was being taken to the hospital. She was so ill that she was no longer eating or drinking, nor could she see or walk. Not knowing if she would live or die, we asked God for His help and mercy, feeling particularly concerned for her welfare. The church sprang into action with a round-the-clock schedule of visitors who not only ministered to her but showed Christian love to the other patients, visitors, and medical staff.
James’s letter to the early Jewish Christians encouraged the church to care for the needy. James wanted the believers to go beyond just listening to the Word of God and to put their beliefs into action (1:22–25). By citing the need to care for orphans and widows (v. 27), he named a vulnerable group, for in the ancient world the family would have been responsible for their care.
How do we respond to those who are at risk in our church and community? Do we see caring for the widows and orphans as a vital part of the exercise of our faith? May God open our eyes to the opportunities to serve people in need everywhere.
Prayer: Father God, Your heart beats for the vulnerable and for those who are alone. Help us to love Your people as You love them, for we are made in Your image.
True faith demands not only our words, but our actions.
The Bible consistently portrays God as the defender of the weak, the poor, the outcast, and the marginalized. Solomon says, “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done” (Prov. 14:31; 19:17). In today’s reading, James encourages believers to care for those in need and to “look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27). How would the church be different if all believers tried to provide for each other’s needs?
This message was written by Amy Boucher Pye [Our Daily Bread Ministries.]