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Who are the orphans of today?
May 08, 2011
Every student of the Bible knows that there are many scripture warnings about neglecting and mistreating the fatherless, or orphans; and the apostle James tells us that the care of orphans and widows is true religion. In the New Testament we are told how we are able to receive “the spirit of adoption” whereby we are then no longer spiritual orphans, but are beloved children of God and joint heirs with Christ, called to care for the orphans and widows in our midst.
And how are we to care for the physical orphans in our world today? To answer, we must begin by defining who are the fatherless and orphans. If the parents of a child living in Africa have died from AIDS, then that child is definitely an orphan. But what about children in America who have never seen their fathers, were sexually and physically abused before abandonment by one or both parents, or have parents that are addicted to drugs and absent from the home or incarcerated for crimes? Is our spiritual admonition to care for these children the same as it would be for a child who has lost both parents to death? It is my personal conviction, and that of many other individuals, that, yes, we as Christians are responsible to care for all the children who I have just described.
Henry Blackaby’s book “Experiencing God” has had a tremendous impact on my life and that of many others. In the book, Blackaby encourages Christians to observe where God is working and join Him. In recent months, I have sensed that God is really working in the area of adoptions, foster care, and child care in general. There are national and state groups joining together to encourage churches and individuals to respond to the tremendous need internationally, nationally, and in our local cities and communities. At the 2009 Southern Baptist Convention, a resolution was passed encouraging churches and individuals to be engaged in adoption and foster care. Here at the Children’s Homes we currently have more families using their homes as mission fields for children by serving as foster parents than ever before in our history. We are having more requests for us to expand our foster care ministry to more locations in the state. The needs are great and the response of God’s people is encouraging.
We have a unique opportunity to expand the mission but additional resources are needed; and that is why our Annual Children’s Homes Offering is so important — now more than ever before. Last year the average gift from Alabama Baptists through their churches offering was $3.24 per member. I believe we can do better and I pray that you will join us in being doers of the Word and not hearers only.
Every child should have someone from whom they can receive love and to whom they want to express love. They should have a family. Aren’t you glad that God first loved us and has made it possible for us to be adopted into His family? As His children, I encourage all of us to be diligent in seeing that children with great needs have a high priority in our mission efforts. I look forward to what is going to be accomplished as we work together.
Paul Miller, Children’s Homes