In Canada last month, We spent a couple of weeks working with widows, neglected children, the families of prisoners, etc. I had two lessons I wanted my students to understand.
- Lesson 1) We are saved by God's grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ.
I told them, "Don't ever confuse lesson 2 for lesson 1."
- Lesson 2) We are saved by God into live new lives characterized by a radical love for the people on the margins of our society--the prisoners, orphans, widows, homeless, sick, oppressed, refugees, etc. This is a non-negotiable change the Holy Spirit works in us (see 1 John and James).
At the end of the last week, I read Eph. 2:8-10 and asked my students a series of questions.
"For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them." Ephesians 2:8-10
I asked, "What is the name of the town closest to your home that has a prison? Name the town closest to you that has a home for widows and the elderly? Name the town closest to you that has neglected children?"
They laughed as they answered the first couple of questions because they named their hometown. Then I noticed their eyes narrow. They understood that they were called by God to love their neighbors--the prisoners, orphans, widows, homeless, sick, oppressed neighbors.
I said, "Then it sounds like your work isn't done."
I posted the link to Bradley's piece because he calls our attention to our unfinished business. We cannot make plans for our lives that don't include taking care of orphans.
I'm asked frequently if I want to have a big family. My answer is now pretty clear. There is no choice anymore. Between the possibility of biological children and the reality of orphans needing homes, I will have a big family.
"Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world." John 1:27