Is today Orphan Monday?

With tears streaming down my face, I listened, worshiped, and prayed with people from 24+ countries around the world in thousands of congregations during the live webcast sponsored by Christian Alliance for Orphans.  Weighing heavy on each of our hearts were the known and nameless, near and distant orphans of the world – the 145 million children – facing uncertain futures with no mom, no dad, no family…no hope.  Orphan Sunday, held annually the first Sunday in November, has become a day to come together, to pray, to energize, to focus, to hope that all those who identify themselves as Christians, who call upon the Lord, who walk in His ways, would be moved to act.

And so we sang.  We worshiped.  We prayed.  We prayed in English, in Chinese, in Russian, in Spanish, in Ukrainian, and in Swahili, we prayed.  God moved and hearts were touched.  Initially what seemed insurmountable – eradicating hopelessness for the hundreds, upon thousands, upon tens of thousands, upon hundreds of thousands, upon millions, upon tens of millions, upon hundreds of millions of orphans – paled a little as each came before the Lord, the Father to the fatherless, committing to do our part.

The number, for example, of Christian churches in the US surpasses the total amount of children waiting to be adopted from foster care in the United States by 3 to 1.  Surely one family from among every three churches can be found who would honestly, seriously, obediently heed God’s call upon His people to care for the orphans.  Wouldn’t they?  Yesterday it seemed possible.  Yesterday was Orphan Sunday.

But today is Monday, and I question if it’s Orphan Monday.  I ask myself if all has been forgotten.

Have deadlines, shopping lists, dentist appointments, soccer practices and that big-ticket-item on our wish lists pushed themselves to the forefront of our minds?  Was the worship and prayer stirring, but not shaking?  Did the need inspire, but not impel?  Was God’s voice clear, but not convincing?

Today is Monday and I wonder if it’s Orphan Monday.  What will we do about what we heard, what we said and what we prayed on Sunday?  Will we forget or will we respond?  It is beyond time to move past simple sentiment and sympathy.  God clearly expects His people – all of us – to defend the cause of the fatherless (Isaiah 1:17).  After all, pure, faultless religion is equated with looking after orphans (James 1:27).

Is caring for the orphans somehow equated with our entrance to heaven?  Are we succumbing to works-based righteousness?  Hardly.  But if our faith doesn’t alter our intentions, if our faith doesn’t shape our lives, if our faith doesn’t impact our communities, if our faith doesn’t change the world, is it really authentic?  Can we really call ourselves His children?

Isn’t caring for orphans messy, expensive and challenging?  Won’t it force us out of our comfort zones?  Indeed.  But God never promised us easy passage to heaven.  God never promised prosperity, success or ease.  God didn’t save us to be comfortable – He saved us to bring His comfort.  And, God calls us to become like Christ….the same Christ who suffered grievously.  That too was rather messy, expensive and challenging.

Today is Monday and indeed, it’s Orphan Monday.  What will we do next?  We will remember and we will respond.  And for all who are searching, all who desire to do something, all who are committed to looking after orphans, here are a few suggestions to get started.

  • Foster – Look into foster care in your community.  Really find out what it entails to become licensed.  Make the phone calls.  Sign up for the training class.  Clean out that spare bedroom which has become a catch-all, or buy a bunkbed to put in a bedroom already filled with children.
  • Adopt – Pray about adoption.  Before you think, “I’m not that type,” look into it.  If God has stirred something in your heart, you probably are that type!  Don’t become overwhelmed at all the options and simply throw up your hands in frustration.  Seek out a family who already has adopted.  Email or call me – I love to walk families through adoption.  Consider adoption.  Pray about adoption.  Seek the heart of God about adoption.
  • Give – Not everyone is called to physically bring an orphan into their home, but all are called to care for orphans.  What family can you support as they faithfully respond to God’s call to adopt?  What family can you financially support, allowing them to remain together, and not become an additional orphan statistic?  (And don’t think this has to be just “hand-outs”…consider Kiva micro-finance loans or child sponsorship through Compassion or World Vision.)  Contribute to a waiting child’s grant, reducing the fees potential adoptive families need to pay.
  • Minister – Does your local church have an orphan ministry?  Join, serve, encourage, support and grow this important ministry.  If not, start one.
  • DreamImaginePrayListen.  Dare to ask God how He would have you be involved, and then go and do.  The truth is none of us are exempt from caring for the orphans.  The question is just how.

Perhaps you didn’t attend Orphan Sunday.  No matter.

Today is Orphan Monday and you too are called to care for the fatherless.  Open your heart.  Open your mind.  And watch….