Proof of Love: What You Do For Orphans, Widows and Immigrants

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

The proof of your wholehearted love for God (or fear, service, or followership) is in the pudding of how you actually live your life. God himself says that this is not just a theological calling of fear/obey/love/serve for your private worship, this is a relational calling that is for your public life. For love of God is to be fleshed out among those people you know, and even the ones you don’t know. It is to be exemplified especially among those the community would tend to marginalize—the least of these, as Jesus would call them. The gracious and merciful love that God extended to you is to be extended in the same way through you to the most vulnerable—orphans, widows and immigrants!

Going Deep // Focus: Deuteronomy 10:12-13, 16-20

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? … Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. Fear the Lord your God and serve him.

It’s actually quite uncomplicated. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get it; actually, it is so simple even a caveman could figure it out. In fact, God himself spelled it out in very plain language. What am I talking about? Following him.

Simple—not easy—but simple. Do this and you will prosper. Do this and you will be satisfied. Do this and you will be safe and secure. Do this and you will live.

It is not easy because there is an unholy trinity that opposes it at every spit second and in ever square inch of your existence—the world, the devil and the flesh. Whatever is tainted by sin will stand in rebellion against what God demands. That is why you and I struggle with it. The evil one craftily lures us away from it, our culture deceive us into thinking it offers something far better and more satisfying, and our own desires entertain deceitful thoughts of finding success, satisfaction and significance in our own way instead of God’s. Following God is simple, but for those reasons, not easy.

Yet, again, it is quite simple. God says do this and you will bring glory to me and I will release goodness to you. Fear me, obey me, love me, serve me, and follow my laws—do this wholeheartedly and I will release my full goodness to you. By the way, any one of those—fear, obedience, love, service, and following—define the other. In other words, if you want to know what fear is, it is obeying, loving, serving and following God wholeheartedly. What is love? It is fearing, obeying, serving and following God wholeheartedly. You get the point!

But wait, there’s more. The proof of your wholehearted love for God (or fear, service, or followership) is in the pudding of how you actually live your life. God goes on to say that this is not just a theological calling of fear/obey/love/serve for your private worship, this is a relational calling that is for your public life. For love of God is to be fleshed out among those people you know, and even the ones you don’t know. It is to be exemplified especially among those the community would tend to marginalize—the least of these, as Jesus would call them. The gracious and merciful love that God extended to you is to be extended in the same way through you to the most vulnerable—orphans, widows and immigrants:

He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)

So at this point a really tough question needs to be asked of you: What are you doing for orphans, widows and immigrants? Not “what do you think” (and even there, some of us need to really think through our theology on this in light of current political philosophy on education, welfare and immigration), but what are you actually doing to defend, embrace, feed and clothe the orphans, widows and immigrants among you? Defend, embrace, feed and clothe—God’s commands, not mine.

Why should you care about that? Well, that is what God has graciously and mercifully done for you—defend, embrace, feed and clothe—so you better get with it and somehow involve yourself in the very same actions toward the least of these! Seriously, the proof of your fear of the Lord, obedience to his Word, love for God, service unto him and discipleship is in the pudding of how you treat, or don’t treat, orphans, widows and immigrants.

Don’t like what I am saying? Don’t get upset with me—take it up with God. Or go do something about it. (If you need ideas, check this out: http://petrosnetwork.org ) As John Bunyan said,

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.

Going Deeper With God: Read and reflect deeply and personally on these verses: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” (Matthew 25:35-40)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply