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 you 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 should 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….
Mike 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)
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! 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 not 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”