In the Old Testament law there is a long history of God instructing Israel to care for the orphan, widow and foreigner. We see that those who had no one to defend themselves had God as their advocate and now God calls his people to do the same.
Take these passages for example:
"He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing." Deuteronomy 10:18
"At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands." Deuteronomy 14:28-29
"Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. 18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.
19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this." Deuteronomy 24:17-22
So, we see this is a big deal to God. The Old Testament is littered with commands concerning the poor, blessing on those who serve the poor and consequences for not serving the poor.
In light of this here is what we are challenging our community to do:
1. Examine How We Live Personally In Light of The Orphan, Widow and Foreigner
All of us need to examine how we are doing good in the world. Are you contributing to help the immediate needs of the marginalized around he world? Even deeper, we should all ask the question: Am I oppressing others as I consume as a Canadian.
It is easy to be unaware that our purchases of things like clothes, coffee, etc. can oppress others.
This isn't some hippie agenda. How we live as the church in light of those around the world is an implication of the good news. Our response to the good news is doing good things around the world.
2. Participate Locally
There are so many things we can partner with locally to both provide care and build relationships with those on the margins in our city. The church should be leading the way in alleviating poverty, giving time and energy in the foster care system and helping create a just society.
One of the things that we do locally is a ministry called Helping Hands. Helping Hands brings food to those in need after our gatherings on Sundays. It is a great way to build bridges and relationships with those in our community.
3. Pool Our Resources As The Church To Do Good
One of our dreams as a church is to get to a place where we would be giving 10% of our budget to local and global work that would go to help the orphan, widow and foreigner. We believe the local church is the best place to pool our resources to do good.
At the moment we are working toward a sustainable budget. When we reach this goal we endeavor to further our giving out of our weekly budget to initiatives around the world.
Consider partnering with us to do good!
A FEW QUESTIONS TO CONTEMPLATE
Before reading these passages in Deuteronomy did you know that it was a requirement for Israel to take care of the orphan, the widow and the foreigner? How does it make you feel to know that God is an advocate for these people?
Does your paradigm change when you see that God’s people are also to take care of the orphan, widow or foreigner? Why or why not?
Do you find that you are conscious and aware in how you live of those who are on the margins of society? Have you been active in helping in any way? If so, share!
What are some ways that our church and this small community could make a difference when it comes to the orphan, widow and foreigner?
Take a few minutes and pray for those in our city and world who lack physically and relationally. Pray that their needs would be met and pray that the church would continue to make a difference.