Friday, December 11, 2009

Widows and Orphans

Read James 1:22-27

What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.
-James 1:27 (TEV)

WHILE I was in foster care, in the home of a minister, my friends taunted me, saying that my mom would never return to get me. But they were wrong. She came for me after proving she could be a responsible adult by holding down a job and securing living quarters for her children.

As I was getting ready to leave his home, the minister spoke to my mom in private. I later found out that he had saved all the money he had received for my foster care. He gave it to my mom to help her get a fresh start. My foster dad was living out the truth of the scripture verse above.

But that verse from James goes much deeper in its meaning. An orphan is someone who has no living biological parents, but in a sense we are all spiritual orphans until we recognize God as our father. If we are to live "pure and genuine religion," we must care for spiritual orphans by guiding them to relationship with our Father in heaven. My foster dad surely did, and my mom and I are living proof of the power of God to redeem broken lives through those who obey God's word in scripture.

by Sandra Kay Ramirez (Ohio, USA)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Christmas Joy

Read Mark 12:41-44

[Jesus] called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury."
-Mark 12:43 (NRSV)

FOR many years I have been helping the Salvation Army by operating one of their kettle stations and ringing a little hand bell in front of a local grocery store. Some days the winter cold makes the bell ringing challenging and unpleasant, but the faces of the coin droppers make it all worthwhile. Last Christmas season, a dear elderly woman stood near the kettle searching a long time in her purse for some coins. She appeared as if she were the one who needed financial help. Finally, she beamed with success as she deposited her rather meager offering. But as Jesus noted in his story of the widow and her penny, it was the sacrificial giving from the heart that mattered.

Often during my Salvation Army bell-ringing experience, I noticed that the people who gave the most often were ones who seemed to be the poorest, and their beaming countenance reflected their joy in giving. But the ones I remember the most are the children who deposited coins given to them by a parent. When they heard the words "Merry Christmas" they flashed wonderful smiles. Yes, giving -- however small the amount -- can bring us a bright face and a soaring spirit.

by Jack Ballard (Colorado, USA)
Powered By Blogger