Chances are, if you’re reading a 127 Worldwide blog you want to learn more about caring for orphans, widows, and vulnerable communities. However, for many of us the James 1:27 command to “visit orphans and widows in their affliction” can seem very theoretical, even daunting. Yes, we readily assent that we should care for people in vulnerable situations… But how in the world does this actually play out in day to day life?
For some of you, this may mean starting the process to adopt or foster. For others, it may look like joining a GO Team to learn about how 127 Worldwide partners serve the vulnerable in other parts of the world. But these are probably not the first steps of obedience for many of us. For those of us who are not likely to foster, adopt, or travel internationally in the near future, what does living out James 1:27 look like today?
First, we should pray for orphans, widows, and vulnerable communities. I think many of us fall prey to the lie that prayer is a last resort. We exert all our effort trying to accomplish something in our own strength, and only when all other resources have failed do we turn to God. It’s a latch-ditch effort that suggests, “Well, it can’t hurt at this point.” But prayer should be where we turn first in any situation. Prayer is powerful because God listens to the requests of his children and because God is all-powerful. If we truly want to help those in vulnerable situations, we ought to lay our requests before the loving Father to the fatherless (Ps. 68:5).
2. Educate Yourself
Another way we can put James 1:27 into practice is by educating ourselves on how to care for the vulnerable in a healthy way. Many people in vulnerable situations have endured severe trauma, and we can easily exacerbate hurts when we intend to help. So, before getting deeply involved in caring for them, we need to make sure we know how to help without hurting. There are countless resources available in this subject area, but just a few I would recommend would be the book When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, Life Church’s video series “Helping Without Hurting,” the 127 Worldwide blog site, and the Simply 127 podcast.
3. Support Organizations that Care for the Vulnerable
Finally, we can obey God’s command to care for the vulnerable by supporting gospel-centered organizations like 127 Worldwide. Even small donations can be helpful, but ultimately giving is not about numbers. Giving to organizations like 127 is really about cultivating a heart that seeks to help others in concrete ways. There are also non-monetary ways to support nonprofits caring for the vulnerable. You could follow and share their educational posts on social media. You could pray for their staff members. You could volunteer to help with events or the day-to-day needs of the organization.
There really are so many different avenues for caring for the vulnerable. It doesn’t have to look like adopting or traveling to another country, but it should look like something. Consider how you can incorporate obedience to James 1:27 into your daily life. And be on the lookout for more opportunities to join the work of 127 Worldwide launching in 2022!