This verse has been on my heart all morning, and I just posted it on facebook:
"Anyone who sets
himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This
kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind
that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the
homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from
the godless world." James 1:26-27 (The Message)
Must be honest here- I've read the Bible from cover to cover several times...well, except for maybe Revelations, that book just confuses me to no end, even with a stack of commentaries sitting next to me for comfort. So I know I've read the above verse a few times. But sadly...or hypocritically, you choose...I would skim it, thinking I was doing my part because we've sponsored a child through World Vision, or given to food banks occasionally. I knew those piddly acts didn't really add up to the intentional effort specified in James. But we were doing something so I let myself off the hook.
Until the Ramsdells became our daughters' pastors and I saw they lived this verse out with their entire lives.
I could talk endlessly about the Ramsdells and the impact they've made on our little family. I won't do that right now. But I will happily introduce you to them sometime if you don't already know them, and let them tell you about their passion for the homeless and the loveless, especially orphans.
Billy used to teach on this verse a lot and he showed our daughters how they can make an impact on the homeless and loveless right now, with their small resources multiplied by heart effort.
I believe we must teach our children to live a better life story.
What do I mean by that?
Society teaches our children today to live for themselves for the most part, yes? Get the stuff and you will be happy...fulfilled and have a super awesome life! Yeah!
How's that working out for us here in America?
The Bible teaches a different way...a better way.
To gain your life, you must lose it.
When we give ourselves...our time, resources, effort, talents and abilities...to the most worthy causes...pouring out hope to the hopeless and love to those who only know pain, fear and unlove...
We are fulfilled. We write a better life story with our lives, yes?
And how do we teach our children to do the same with their lives? By modeling giving of ourselves for them to see, of course. Because we all know children won't always do what we say, but they will do what we do. This can be a cause for shuttering or for thankfulness, and we, as parents, hold the process in our hands.
So I finally joined a local LOVE146 task force this morning. Yes, I waited much too long. Scold me for that, I deserve it. For those unfamiliar with this organization, they are a Christ-centered organization committed to the abolishing child trafficking and exploitation. This cause has burned on my heart since I first heard about it over a year ago.
The monthly meeting for September is on my birthday. I could skip it. But I'm not. I must start giving myself somewhere, sometime.
I pray my girls find their causes through the Lord's direction and leading, and pour out love in their own unique ways to change lives. I pray the same for you today too.
Give yourself. Love out loud. Be fulfilled.