“Adoption is not just about couples who want children - or who want more children. Adoption is about an entire culture within our churches, a culture that sees adoption as part of our Great Commission mandate and as a sign of the gospel itself.” - Russell Moore, Adopted for Life
The month of November is National Adoption Month. As an adoptive parent, this month is like my Super Bowl! This month presents wonderful opportunities to start conversations about the important topic of orphan care. Many times these conversations end with the comment, “Well, I’m glad you’re involved in orphan care,” or “Good for you!” The truth is, orphan care isn’t merely a cause for a certain group of people to take up. Rather it is a foundational, even Gospel matter, for every believer.
In 1 Corinthians 12, we see Paul comparing the church to a body. This passage is one we often study to understand our spiritual giftings as believers. The apostle paints a picture of the church having many different parts but functioning as a unified body toward the same end with no part less important than the others. One of the many principles we can glean from this passage is the diversity in how the Father has created His children. There is diversity in the way we look, the way we talk, and the talents and interests we have. There was no mold when God knit each of us together, instead there was a beautiful Creator who delights in His children. This diversity even extends to the the types of ministries God calls us to be involved in. There are brothers and sisters who love to visit those in the hospital and others who love teaching children and still others who love connecting with college students. The Father has created each of us different in many ways.
However, there are some things that every believer is called to. Evangelism, worship, and discipleship, for instance, are pursuits every Christian is called to. These are foundational in the life of every believer and are things God directly commands those who are ‘in him’ to do. In James 1, God gives another direct command saying, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves,” telling us that being doers of the word means “to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:22, 27) These verses are not isolated from the rest of scripture. Rather, we see God Himself taking up the cause of the fatherless and the widow and calling his people to do the same throughout the Bible. Psalm 68:5 is just one instance of where God calls himself the “Father to the fatherless and protector of the widows.” Then in Isaiah 1, we see Him calling His people to “bring justice to the fatherless, and plead the cause of the of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)
Not once throughout scripture do we see that caring for the fatherless is a cause for a certain group of people within the church to take up. Instead, we see that it is the story of every man and woman redeemed by the blood of Christ. Adoption is a beautiful reminder of our own spiritual reconciliation. In Adopted for Life, Russell Moore paints a beautiful picture of how our spiritual adoption informs our understanding of orphan care. He writes, "Jesus reconciles us to God and to each other. As we love our God, we love our neighbor; as we love our neighbor, we love our God. We believe Jesus in heavenly things - our adoption in Christ; so we follow him in earthly things - the adoption of children.” As imperfect people, our wrongs put us at opposition with God. But, in His goodness, He stepped into our desperate situation and made us His sons and daughters. Church, I pray that we would reflect God’s love to us in how we care for the fatherless!
For some, that means taking the first steps toward adoption or foster care. For some, that means beginning to partner with a local ministry to care for and counsel birth mothers. For others, that means being approved to serve as respite care givers so foster moms and dads can have a break. But for all of us, that means beginning to fervently plead the cause of the fatherless before God’s throne of grace.
How is God calling you to care for the fatherless?