A Father’s Heart

He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Deuteronomy 10:18

In reading through the Bible a theme begins to emerge as to the character and heart of God toward man. Not only is his great love and grace, judgment and mercy revealed, but also the kinds of people to whom he is most compassionate and to whom he commands us to do likewise, meaning widows, orphans, and strangers.

Jesus displayed this truth perfectly. His compassion to strangers (non-Jews) was specifically detailed in scriptures including the Roman soldier’s servant, the Gadaranes man, the Syrophonician woman’s daughter, and the tenth leper. From Peter’s mother-in-law to the widow of Nain to his own mother at the cross, Jesus cared for widows. He even spoke to the greatness of one widow before God in that she gave everything out of her nothing where others gave to the treasury very little compared to their great wealth. A very familiar verse, “suffer the little children to come unto me,” is typically applied to mothers bringing their children to be blessed by Jesus. But as we look at the totality of scripture we understand Jesus to mean bring all children to him, i.e.: grandchildren, nieces/nephews, church children, orphans in America or overseas. Believers are to follow Jesus’ example. Though we move among equals most of the time, compassion for the stranger, widows, and orphans should be a representative part of our time and interest.

Know ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? Even at the tender age of twelve Jesus knew what he was to be about. As Believer’s our call is absolutely the same. We must be about our Father’s business. To pursue the will of the Father in one’s life does not take years of prayer and Bible reading, it only takes obedience to do what the Lord has set your hand to do (duty) and to do it for His glory alone.

What does take years of practice is to die to self and live unto Christ! Yet God does not leave us without ways of working this out to the maximum. He says in James 1:27, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” If you want to really show God your heart is for him then you will do what is his heart.

Do not be fooled, it is by grace that we do anything, but the question is, “How much grace do you want?!” If a little grace is OK with you then just do what fits in your comfort zone. BUT if you want to have grace poured out in heaps, full to overflowing, then step out in faith and do the work of the Father. Go into prisons, and nursing homes. Host a foreign college student. Adopt a child who is fatherless, or generously finance a family who is willing to open their home to an orphan, a stranger, a child! Go into the mission field of another country or state and as you share the Gospel with these strangers, the Lord will bring to you widows and orphans for you to touch in Jesus’ name. It is all about the Father’s heart.

Where is your heart? God did not prosper this great Nation so that we, as Believers, could lavish ‘stuff’ on ourselves. He commands us in James 1:27 to keep from being polluted by that mindset. That is why in the same sentence of learning what is pure for a Christian (to take care of widows and orphans) we are told not to do as the world does. John Bunyan rebelled against man to obey God and was locked in prison. William Tyndale rebelled against man to obey God and was burned at the stake. This kind of martyrdom may never be our calling or fate in Christ, but we are to restrain our desires (imprison them) and to die to self, living for Christ’s will only. Being a martyr to self must be an every moment decision whereby the Believer is then able to embrace God’s ability through grace to do mighty deeds for his kingdom. We need to do as Isaiah and say to the Lord, “Here am I send me.”

“I could never do what you do!” How many times have missionaries, pastors, adoptive parents, prison chaplains/volunteers, nursing home workers/volunteers, homeschooling families, and college student hosting families had to listen to those words, and from believers no less! And all that echoes in the heart and mind of the afore mentioned persons is, “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” No one does anything for the Kingdom of God except that they stepped out in faith, trusting God’s Word, and the Lord pouring out in torrents his grace upon their obedience. And where does that obedience come. It comes from a desire to do the Father’s will and to live the Father’s heart as revealed plainly in Scripture.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40

Copyright 2006 Robert Sanford, revised 2010

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