“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.”
Do you believe ALL of James 1:27?
It was early in my marriage when this passage first came to life for me. A good friend of ours had lost her husband a few years earlier. She was the Children’s Director at our church. She was a widow. And, her name was Mary. (Pic below)
Everyone called her by her nickname, “Miz D”. We loved her like she was our “out of town grandma”. There was no one more loved and respected at our church than her.
During one season, something happened with “Miz D’s” apartment and she had to move out pretty quickly. There were no immediate plans and she really did not know what to do.
That challenge in her life began a wrestling match in my heart. I struggled with so many selfish thoughts. And, I justified just about everyone of them. But, I could not seem to allow myself to ignore the call of James 1:27 in this moment.
My wife and I invited her to live with us until something opened up for her. Was it an inconvenience to a newlywed couple? Maybe a little. But, the blessing was WAY bigger than the “sacrifice” on our end. By the way, that’s always the case.
We had the privilege of hosting Miz D in our home for 6 months until she finally found what she had been looking for in a home. One of our dogs loved to sleep at the foot of her bed every night in our 2 bedroom, 1200 sq. ft house. We would eventually give this dog to her. What an honor it was to have her joy, her wisdom and her encouraging presence in our house for that season.
As I write this post, Miss D resides in a wonderful living assisted facility in Florida. Last year, when she realized that she could no longer drive her car, she gave it to me because she believed in how we were helping children. She decided that her car would be an extension of her ministry to children. I dedicated that car to helping foster children and global orphans….all over the world. I want to continue her great legacy of ministering to children and sharing the hope of Jesus with people.
I talked to her on the phone the other day and she read me one of her favorite poems, tearing up as she read these words:Some would gather money along the pathway of life; Some would gather roses and rest from worldly strife. But I would gather children from among the thorns of sin; I would seek a golden curl and a freckled toothless grin. For money cannot enter in that land of endless day, And roses that are gathered soon will wilt along the way. But O, the laughing children, as I cross the sunset sea; As the gates swing wide to heaven I can take them in with me! Billie Crawford
Jesus did say, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:13-14
Don’t let this world and all its pursuits distract you from the greatness of God’s blessings…..
It’s in those moments of “sacrifice” that you will discover a deeper joy that cannot be acquired any other way.
There is nothing better than that.
Thank you, Miz D.Steve Gillis Founder | Exec. Director www.patchourplanet.org