Orphan Summit 2011 was wonderful, overwhelming, and inspiring. Much unlike the familiar guilt-trip driven orphan care seen in infomercial ads, the Summit focused on the hope and compassion God stirs within His people for orphans and the poor. The Summit focused on being compelled to reach out and serve and love and provide for orphans because we were once orphans adopted by God and now are called His family. I could fill this blog with hours of information and emotions and out-pouring from the two days of heartfelt encouragement and empowerment for the Body of Christ to go forth and fulfill God’s commands to care for the needy. So instead of hitting you with it all today, I plan on sharing with you and anyone else I meet for the rest of my life. When God’s called receive His instructions, we are compelled to run to the labor with full abandonment. Or another way to say it, in quotation of Sara Groves: “I saw what I saw and I can’t deny it. I heard what I heard and I can’t go back. I know what I know and there’s no substitution. Something on the road, cut me to the soul. Your pain has changed me. Your dreams inspire. Your face a memory. Your hope a fire. Your courage asks me what I’m afraid of …and what I know of love…”
Matt and I are left in a place of prayer. We know we are called to adopt. We don’t know where. We don’t know how. We don’t know when. We don’t know who. But all we know is that we must find out. And we’re not interested in merely a humanitarian act – we just want to obey Jesus. So we’re praying hard and asking our friends and family to come alongside of us and pray with us.
The pivotal moment in the weekend for me was sitting down to the provided lunch, while waiting to bag some food to send to those dying of starvation far across the world. Matt and I had come with every expectation to work throughout our lunch process, shoveling down lunch quickly to allow for more time. Jesus compelled me but a statistic resounded in my head, “2 people for 2 hours of labor in bagging food equals 1 child’s year worth of food supply.” We were planning to fill small bags approximately the size of two stationary envelopes with a highly concentrated rice, mineral, and powdered protein formula. I ate my lunch quietly, listening to the “background” music that blared loudly beside me from computer speakers. It was an African children’s choir, singing Revelation song (the one Kari Jobe released). And in that moment God taught my heart in a very real way – these voices were singing straight scripture: “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God, Almighty Who was and is and is to come. With all creation I sing, praise to the King of Kings…”
It blew me away that from merely me taking time to fill a bag of food, there could be a brother or sister in Christ standing beside me in the new Jerusalem that would have otherwise not been there. In that moment, and in each moment thereafter, it had nothing to do with me helping someone and everything to do with my obedience to God’s commands. God’s command to go and to make disciples, God’s command to take care of the poor and needy, God’s command to do unto the least of these, God’s command to provide for the widow and the orphan… it all flooded through my mind- obedience felt that much more critical. I don’t have to sell all my possessions and move to a third world country, but my obedience is directly tied to what I do today to obey the Lord. My obedience is directly tied to how I serve the least of these today, from the comforts of my home, from the way I teach my kids about God’s heart, from the way I help structure our family values and our family goals, from the way I use my money, from the next conversation I have…. TODAY – not tomorrow or some futuristic goal of later having more funds or time or devotion. Today!
I can’t possibly describe to you how my heart feels or what it feels like to have God pull the blinders off to His heart for the poor and the needy. I can’t possibly begin to put into words how much more than smiling at a homeless man or volunteering once a year at a food bank or how much more than doing a 30 hour famine awareness once a year with the youth it is to have God’s heart regarding the poor. But brothers and sisters in Christ, it is our responsibility to pass on to our children that “to much is given, much is expected”. It is our responsibility to pour ourselves out that one more may come to know God in His abundant love and provision for our souls.
The world is filled with one “I can’t” after another. But what I have found regarding the poor and the needy and the orphan is that a family, regardless of financial status, who has a heart for the orphan and the widow and the needy will pour themselves out through prayer, conversations, collecting spare change, awareness, walking alongside missionaries in their endeavors to blog about God’s work around the world, creative fundraisers, and doing everything they can to keep open eyes and gain a more Godly worldview so that through that family our Lord will be glorified. And Matt and I desperately want our family to have an accurate worldview, that God’s heart would compel us and direct our steps to bring Him the most glory possible.
It just all boils down to this… In Christ there are 2 kinds of Christians: those that merely receive Christ and those that become saints. I’m not talking some weirdo “check me out, I rock” title. I’m talking about those that have jewels on their throwing-at-Jesus’-feet-crowns and have sold themselves out for the utter and complete Glory of God and God alone. And I agree (once again with Sara Groves) that “when the saints go marching in, I want to be one of them.” When I stand before Jesus I am going to have so much to say regarding my lackings, but I want to also be able to cling to Him and say, “Jesus, I tried so hard – even though I failed in so many ways- I poured myself out because I wanted so much of You and I wanted to make so much of You.”
– that is if I’ll be able to speak at all.
(praying and thinking and longing)