For Cross Church, Sunday, November 6 was important for two reasons.
First, it kicked off the week of prayer for missions. During the week, we prayed daily with our church family from North Richland Hills Baptist Church for missions partners around the world.
Second, at Cross Church and at churches around the US, it was national orphan day.
At first glance, these two issues are seemingly unrelated. However, at closer inspection, we can see that the two are crucial issues for the church to address.
They are both important because God has given his people a mandate regarding missions and orphan care.
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commands his disciples to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
It is the responsibility of every believer to take the gospel to the nations. It is not merely the responsibility of the vocational missionary, but of every Christian.
One of the biggest objections to the faith is fate of those people, from all around the world, who have never heard of the gospel. Scripture is clear. Those who die apart from Christ, live eternally separately from him.
Questions then arise: what kind of God is this? How dare he condemn those who never had the chance to believe.
However, I don’t think this problem lays at God’s feet. That there are people in this world that will never hear the gospel and spend eternity in Hell is not an indictment against God, but against God’s people.
God has given the task to his people. We must take the gospel to the nations.
In James 1:27, God also gives the responsibility of orphan-care to his people, “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.”
Here are some astounding statistics about orphans in the US (click on the image to enlarge it):
The Hartford Institute for Religious Research pegs the number of Christian (Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox) churches in the US at approximately 338,000.
Church Relevance puts it at a slightly lower number of 320,000.
As others have famously quipped, if only one to two couples per American church would foster-to-adopt, each orphan in America would have a mom and dad, a family that loves them, and a place to call home.
Again, that there are orphans in this country is not an indictment against God, but against God’s people.
Janet and I adopted our oldest son, Parker. One of the most consistent questions we are asked is about our relationship with Parker’s birthmom.
We love her.
We don’t feel threatened by her.
She can’t and wouldn’t take Parker from us.
She made the most loving decision a person can make. And because of her, we have the privilege of being Parker’s parents.
If you’ve ever had second thoughts on adoption due to your fears of a birthmom, let me encourage you to watch the powerful video below.
This isn’t Parker’s birthmom, but a young woman who made a tremendous sacrifice of God-given love.
It would be too easy to look to others. To look to professional missionaries to take the gospel to other nations. To look to other families to adopt rather than your own.
If you are a follower of Christ, God has given you the responsibility.
Don’t look to the right or to the left.
It is your responsibility. Live up to it.