February 9th, 2023 - Caring for the Vulnerable

Caring for the Vulnerable

As we begin another day. Let us slow down.

Take a few deep breaths. In and Out.

Get into a posture of receiving, but opening your hands and placing your palms facing upward as a symbolic way of telling the Lord that you are open and ready to receive a word from Him today.

As we sit in this moment let us meditate on Psalm 89:14, which gives us a great picture of the character and nature of the Lord.

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.”

Meditate today that the Lord is righteous - holy, set apart, no one compares to him.

And at the same time he is a God of justice, caring about the vulnerable and seeking to make wrong things right.

Sit in that truth this morning.

All throughout scripture, both the Old and New Testaments we are told and shown the heart of the Lord in caring for those that are less fortunate. But it is in James 1:27 that we get one of the clearest commands of what it looks like to follow the Lord.

James 1:27
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."

The writer of this short letter, James, was the half-brother of Jesus. James makes it very clear over the course of his letter that intellectual belief is not sufficient in following Jesus. True belief is not determined by what we say, but rather what we do. “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless” (James 2:19-20)

James wants to make it very clear, if you follow Jesus your works and deeds will demonstrate your beliefs. So when James gives us the definition of what “true religion” looks like he is not giving just some good information but rather a practical challenge that should be at the heart of all followers of Jesus. According to James, true religion is caring for the least among us, the most vulnerable.

In our world today, there are many people who are vulnerable, including the elderly, children, those living in poverty, and the homeless. As we partner with our local schools systems and other local community organizations we hear of homeless families right here in Walton County. Children in our community struggle with poor role models as they live in abusive homes. The elderly among us struggle with deep loneliness and depression. It is our responsibility as followers of Jesus to care for these individuals, just as we would want others to care for us if we were in need.

Pope Francis said, “The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest members.”  If this statement is true than the heartbreaking reality of our society is that these “weakest members” are more of inconvenience than an opportunity to live out of faith and show the world the heart of God. Sadly, many followers of Jesus have transferred their responsibility to help those in need to the government or other secular institutions. While many of these programs and organizations should be celebrated, they should never be seen as a replacement for God’s Church.

If we are going to be the men and woman that build God’s Church and Kingdom we must start by caring for the most vulnerable in our society. When the children of God prioritize caring for the weak they are living examples of their Heavenly Father, showing his heart to the world, a heart of righteousness and justice.

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.” -John Wesley

As our devotion comes to a close today, ask the the Lord the following questions:

  • How am I doing at caring for the weakest members of our society? 
  • Do I pray for, give to, and serve those that are struggling?
  • Who is it that the Lord might be calling you to practically serve today or in the near future?

Lord, we admit that far too often we get wrapped up in our own worlds and neglect those in need around us. Lord, I yield my time and money to you and ask you to use it to help those around me in need. Lord I give you my eyes and ask you to help me to see those around me in need and then give me the boldness to serve them as you see fit.  AMEN

As we close out the devotion this morning, don’t rush pass this truth. In light of our time together today, what is the Lord calling you into?