“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.“- James 1:27 NIV
This verse is not unfamiliar in orphan care circles.
If orphan care advocates were a football team (the Advocates), this verse would be on a sign hanging over the exit door in the stadium tunnel. Every advocate would reach up and touch it on the way out to the playing field. It’s been our rallying verse.
A rally is an occurrence in which a team or player that has been behind or playing badly begins to play well. Guess what? Our team is behind.
We have pockets of communities beginning to play well, but there are still too many churches who have yet to give it any effort. There is no rally. We’re falling behind.
Why are we falling behind?
We see in our rallying verse above that we have a clear understanding of what God calls “pure and faultless” or undefiled religion. Powerful words. But did you also see that the biggest threat to our team also exists in that very same verse?
“….keep oneself from being polluted but the world.”
Twitter. Facebook. iPhone. Text messages. Netflix. World News. YouTube.
It’s not that these things are bad. They are simply contributors to the noise in our world and they, along with so many other things, are polluting our world, derailing our focus, and limiting our face to face interaction with people. Only because we let them.
Why knock these things? They can be great tools if used with wisdom. I agree. I use them too.
But many people would rather post something about themselves on Facebook than meet someone at a coffee shop who may need a little encouragement. Many would rather “influence” the masses on Twitter than sit patiently with a widow in a nursing home. Or worse, “creatively” tell everyone in your social network about how good you were to do those things (I know, that was below the belt. I’ve done it too, unfortunately.) Many would rather look down at their phones when their children are crying for their attention – just look at them and be all there for a moment. You will need their full attention one day.
And this is the way we lose the ministry of James 1:27 in churches as well.
Busy people = busy churches. Polluted.
What can we do?
Pray. Ask God to identify and illuminate the noise in your life. Then ask Him what He would have you to change. It’s always a good idea to talk to God about things before you talk to someone else. Let’s start there and continue this talk after we get the most important step rolling. Rid ourselves of the excess noise in our lives. Clear the pollution.
It’s late in the game and our team is behind.
We desperately need you and your church to come charging out of that faith tunnel with a renewed focus to serve those who are most vulnerable in your community and those within your influence globally.
For the sake of church and child,Steve Gillis Founder | Exec. Director www.patchourplanet.org