“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
Must Pure Religion be Also Poor?
(Please read James 1:27)
“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” it’s hard to read that passage (from Psalm 10) on Berean Family Home correspondence without getting a lump in the throat, because it brings to mind actual children who, because of the Home, were saved from situations literally like the one mentioned in the psalm. Children whom the Lord had rescued, working through His children.
Few subjects find such common agreement among considerate people as love and concern for children. We weep at accounts of parental neglect and brutality, and applaud those who provide good, decent homes for children who have been forsaken. We’re on scriptural ground in feeling this way. James mentioned “to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction” first in defining “pure religion.” Understanding that “to visit” here means “to look after,” as a later translation has it, we can all nod in agreement and say amen.
But somehow, despite everybody’s approval and good intentions, children’s homes and similar good works generally have a continual struggle in trying to make ends meet. The contributions just don’t come in fast enough.
Parsimony wasn’t what James had in mind. He wanted action, not mere approval. He provided this illustration: “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” (2:15-16, NIV).
Today’s disciples simply can’t ignore such teaching. As individuals and congregations, we need to be sure our follow-up matches our good intentions.