Orphans Allowed

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At dinner a few weeks ago Grace piped up recounting this exchange with her friend David: “I was talking with David today and I told him we were going to marry. He said ‘But, I don’t want to marry!’ and I said: ‘But it will be so FUN! We’ll have babies and take in orphans and we’ll live in a big house and put a big sign out front that says: Orphans Allowed.’ And then David said: ‘Oh! That sounds exciting!’”

This gave me pause. For one, it made me think about the bigness of those little hearts. How innocent and open! I wonder about my own heart. How innocent and open is it? Am I looking out at the brokenness of the world willing to serve God with the “excitement” little David and Gracie pronounced? How can I embrace that enthusiasm?

And then it hit me: “Orphans Allowed.”

You know adoptions are costly. People lay out thousands of dollars, they put their financial resources, their time resources and their hearts on the line just for the opportunity to give a new life and hearts full of love, a new inheritance and a new legacy to a child who in some cases they have never met, and as soon as the adoption papers are signed the status of that child changes forever. One moment they were an orphan belonging to no one— and in the next they are someone’s child. In truth every one of us is lost, a spiritual orphan looking for a tender father to take us in, and when we are adopted by the King of the universe everything changes! Even if you had an earthy father reject you in any way— this Father wants you more desperately than any parent wanted a child, natural or adopted. Here is a Father who does know you and loves you beyond compare. He’s adopted you2425059_orig at infinite cost to himself. Jesus suffered a brutal death and total abandonment so that we could be adopted into God’s family. Jesus gave up his very life so that He could give you a new life, a heart full of love, a new inheritance and a new legacy. Our Heavenly Father has a big sign out front that says: “Orphans Allowed.” And as soon as you are adopted by God everything changes!

Now, if I really believed the price God paid, how he opened His heart to me, provided for my every need, took a spiritually impoverished soul and made it rich— then that shouldchild_of_god have a profound impact. Children, even adopted children, tend resemble their parents not in appearance, but in character. If I have been adopted by the King of the Universe shouldn’t I begin looking like him— with a wide open heart and a wide open home ready to apply that metaphor to care for the REAL orphans, widows and least of these? As James 1:27 says: “True religion is this: to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” As I continue to ponder this, I want to just give you a raw look at my heart….

I am tired of looking around my world at perfectly manicured lawns and perfectly manicured fingernails of people sipping on their lattes while shaking their heads at the TV news complaining about how the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. Yet, we continue to horde and indulge in the over-excessive privileges of living in the “Blessed West” while the majority of the world does without food, shelter, clothing, clean water to drink or the luxury of toilet paper. I point that finger at myself as much as anyone else. Don’t mistake my point. I’m not looking at the world saying; “poor them, blessed me” and shaking my head in pity.  There is not one ounce of pity in this heart. This heart is utterly broken —- and if anything, what I feel most is intense ANGER at the depravity of the world. I think we often look at the overwhelming need and wonder “why isn’t God doing something???” But when we wonder that we are forgetting that God HAS done something! He came amongst us and lived the life we should have lived, died the death we should have died, and made a way for us to have the ultimate blessing… Him! So when we ask why God is not doing something, we are also putting Him in a box and abdicating our responsibility as children who have already been adopted by the King. Matthew West’s song “Do Something” illustrates this profoundly and simply:

My eyes looked up to heaven and I said: “God why don’t you DO something?!”

He said: “I did! I created YOU!”  

The Lord Jesus has given us the privilege not only of adoption but also of ambassadorship as sons and daughters expanding His Kingdom. So we can’t put God in a box. It is absolutely true that He can break blessing upon blessing over the heads of those who are “unblessed” according to the world’s standards. But, I ask you— just exactly how do you think God will accomplish that? Will it be with the poof of a magic wand? No… more likely it will be by people. People like….

orphans1Mike Mercer of Compassion First rescuing girls from sex trafficking

Daryl Fulp with Hope for Home taking in special needs children

Paul Smith with Tree of Life helping single mothers out of poverty

Lauren Mulligan at the Loudoun Homeless Shelter providing a roof for those who have none

And thousands more like them who know the love of Christ and want others to know Him too.

It has been my experience in the mission field and knowing people who serve in the mission field now, that those on the fringes struggle with knowing God loves them—- and there are millions of people in the world who don’t know it at all!  God works through people and He will orchestrate His good ends for the “least of these” and for every spiritually impoverished soul through those who are willing to go out into the mess of the “unblessed” and act as the hands and feet of Jesus to “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (Isaiah 61) Because of the willingness of these people to serve the Lord, the people they minister to will be blessed and “called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” (Isaiah 61)

ceaff3b7e50ae60145f0edfbffc1eabeiWe tend to measure “blessings” by the world’s material standards. But I am telling you the truly blessed in this world do not measure by those standards. They measure by only one standard. There is only ONE true blessing— the Lord Jesus! It is not what you have, it is Who you have!” He is the blessing beyond blessings! And so the question I ask is this… Are you a part of the rising crescendo singing God’s grace in the world? Or part of the clanging cacophony of depravity?  Are you sipping your latte and shaking your head? Or are you out whispering God’s love into the ears of the least of these? Are you willing to give up your “life,” to meet the needs of the suffering— to figuratively (or maybe even literally) open up your heart and your home to the mess of the world, hammer a big sign in your front yard that says: “Orphans Allowed” and take in or reach out to whoever is in need?

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” [BUT] How, then, can they call on the one they have tumblr_lpjr7zRQpq1qa2w5vo1_500not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:13-15)

With Every act of love, we bring your kingdom come. God put a million, million doors in the world for His love to walk through. One of those doors is YOU.                   Jason Gray, “With Every Act of Love”

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Leona Choy July 5, 2014 at 12:06 am

Excellent, EXCELLENT, piece of writing, Monica! To the point, relevant eye-catching images scattered throughout riveting the reader’s attention. Good, practical take-away suggestions. Go, girl!

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Bethany July 5, 2014 at 3:54 pm

I! LOVE! THIS!

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S July 5, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Amazing! What I find so precious is the fact that two young people talked about this. Thanks for sharing.

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D July 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Good story and agree wholeheartedly with it, but may I also say as well that the people who are sitting back sipping on their lattes and having fingernails painted may be the people that need to have whispered in their ear that God loves them too. I’ve found through working as a nurse in mental health, and various other places in the hospital, and also in the business field previous to that, that some of the most hurting people I’ve seen are the ones who “have it all” by worlds standards….. big house, kids, dog, cat, doctorate degrees etc., and still are not happy…..They are striving so hard to attain all of that to “measure up”, to “fit in”, to be “looked up to”, to have “ego’s stroked”, etc…that they actually are the ones who I see are starving emotionally and spiritually the most. They chase after happiness which they will never attain without Christ. I’ve seen people like this say, “When I get my degree, I’ll be happy.” ” If I could just have a child, then I’d be happy.” ” If I just had a nice house”……on and on.

The people sipping on the lattes who have the big house, the picket fence, the kids, and still feel like they need to just have one more thing to make them happy or have to have more than anyone else to feel good about themselves, may just be the people who are in the biggest trouble. They too need to have whispered in their ear by somebody that Jesus loves them too; maybe by one of the people who people in the world see as “not blessed” by the world standards. But, I am assuming that the people sipping on the lattes in your article that you are talking about are Christians who are just sitting back doing nothing but complaining……not non-Christian latte sippers.

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Monica July 6, 2014 at 4:04 pm

BRAVO! BRAVO! Very good points! 🙂 YOU are so right! I did not have time or space to dedicate to that full point in this piece, but I did hint at it indirectly when I said that “God works through people and He will orchestrate His good ends for the “least of these” and for every spiritually impoverished soul [That means anyone who does not have Jesus!] through those who are willing to go out into the mess of the “unblessed” [again, anyone who does not have Jesus!] and act as the hands and feet of Jesus” and that “We tend to measure “blessings” by the world’s material standards. But I am telling you the truly blessed in this world do not measure by those standards. They measure by only one standard. There is only ONE true blessing— the Lord Jesus! It is not what you have, it is Who you have!” He is the blessing beyond blessings!” [That applies to those you describe here— those who “have it all” and are actually empty, or who think they need that “one thing” and then they will be happy… but the only one thing they need is JESUS!]

One of my favorite things that I ever heard was Jill Briscoe say: “Your mission field is wherever you are- right between your own two feet.” My only caution, particularly in writing this piece, is that we sometimes use taking the gospel to “the latte sippers” who don’t know him as an opportunity to keep us from stretching out of our comfort zones to reach those who are on the fringes– those Jesus describes as “the least of these.” We need to be reaching out to BOTH! BUT, It can be easy to minister to the latte sippers because we are comfortable in their world… and so we ignore those who suffer on the fringes. I know people who chastised Doug & I for going to Biloxi after Hurricane Katrina because it was “dangerous,” others who refuse to serve the homeless because “those people are scary” and others who refuse to aid the poor because their poverty “is their own fault.” But is that how the Lord looked at us in our spiritual poverty and sin? No… he came and rescued us anyway! To be like Him means we do the same… for those near and far, rich and poor… “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (ACTS 1:8)

I address some of the issues you raised here in other LWG writings if you are interested… You can find them under the category: Identity… White Trash Baby was a particular favorite of readers!

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Monica July 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm
Christiana Hamilton September 12, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Wowza! God saw a need in the world, then He created YOU! You includes orphans , latte sippers, disciples and servants of Christ!! Let’s go and open our hearts to Orphans, as Gracie and David said, ‘It’ll be fun and exciting!”
God places treasure all around us, a simple smile can make the receivers heart smile even though they may look at you like your crazy!
Thanks for this story! Just love!

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