By Lori Resmer | Team Coordinator of Journey 117

America is one of the richest countries in the world….and one of the most obese. Seems as though excess isn’t necessarily a good thing. But not only is our country consumed with material goods, food, wealth and assets, we are wrapped up in our love of SELF. Unfortunately, the Church has allowed itself to reflect the American culture of our day and has forsaken the perspectives that God has called us to maintain as believers. We have taken Christianity and turned it into a self-improvement program instead of living as we were instructed: to take up our cross and follow Christ. That to me doesn’t sound like self-help; it sounds more like self-denial.

Todd Phillips quotes in his study Get Uncomfortable that “many churches in the U.S. today, especially the larger they get, become like country clubs rather than spiritual hospitals. Over time we become more concerned about our needs more than the needs of others.” But if we are truly reading the Word of God and not putting feet to the truths embedded within, we are like the man in James 1:23-24 who, after reading God’s Word and remains passive, is like a man who looks at himself in a mirror and then walks away, immediately forgetting what he looks like. Have we, as the American church, forgotten who we are?

We refuse to educate ourselves on the more than 2,000 verses in Scripture about God’s heart for the poor, the needy, the widow and the orphan. We tend to feed on the passages that reference God’s blessings…..His provision for us if we have enough faith, His mercies that are new for us each morning, His peace for us in hard times, etc.  We give little time to the passages that speak of self-denial and sacrifice for the good of others for the sake of the Gospel. Ironically, the truest form of joy and peace come from offering our bodies as sacrifices for the advancement of God’s kingdom. Maybe that’s why so many of us are depressed, stressed out, lonely and discontented. Maybe it’s time we stop focusing on ourselves and start devouring God’s word to see what it says about His heart for the world:

John 10:37   -  Jesus lived out his life doing what God does. John 13:37–   If we serve the way Christ did, we will be blessed if we do those things. Jeremiah 22:16-  Defending the cause of the poor is what it means to know the Lord. James 1:22-  We should do what God’s word says. Titus 1:16-   To know God means to do His will.

Do you see this truth coming full circle? If we really want to know God and be blessed, we should do what Christ did….what God desires….by defending the cause of the poor.

This doesn’t say to separate yourselves from the poor. It says to defend the causes of the poor. To do this means we would have to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them and share in their misery. To do this means we would need to visit and rescue the orphan. To do this means we should care for the widow. To do this means we need to clothe and feed the hungry. To do this means we should stand up against injustices around us. This is what it means to know the heart of God. Matter of fact, when we do these things, it’s as though we have done them to Christ himself (Matt. 25:40).

Let’s allow God to remove the scales from our eyes to see the world they way HE sees it. Let’s relinquish our selfishness and indulgences and serve God with abandonment! What is God asking you to release to allow His kingdom to come “here on earth as it is in Heaven”?  Let’s open our arms to the poor and extend our hands to the needy expecting God to fill us, in return, with an unparalleled joy!

Learn to do right!  Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. - Isaiah 1:17

World Orphans offers opportunities to serve widows and orphans in a variety of ways. One way is though Journey 117, which consists of trips for individuals and small groups.

To find out more about how you can get involved with World Orphans or Journey 117, click here.