Modern Day Widows and Orphans
By Mike Stickler
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.
Picture this: A leadership meeting in a small church was in session. As I sat there listening, the topic was a single mother who was asking for some financial help in order to fix her minivan. I happened to know this woman and knew that she – like many single moms – was a victim of some of her choices: she had several children, teen to toddler; was overweight and fairly unkempt; always seem harried; and her van was full of empty cups and wrappers and bags from the variety of fast food restaurants.
The conversation went along these lines:
“She’s asking for money again. This time it’s for her van. Last month it was school clothes. The month prior it was for utilities.”
“And didn’t we put tires on that van last summer?”
Finally, the pastor said, “I question whether we’re just enabling her in her situation ‒ prolonging her problems.”
Let me explain about this mom and her family.
She married her high school sweetheart, who, by all appearances he was a solid believer. It was a dream marriage for her. As young couples often do, they starting having children early on. Soon pregnant and then a mom, she was never able to complete her college education. She had a good work ethic, didn’t appear to use drugs of any sort, and the kids were good kids – well behaved – and appeared very loved and balanced. But her husband had a selfish streak. He decided the life he was leading was not the life God had called him to live. He abandoned his family. This left her to be father, mother and sole provider. The husband never gave her an ounce of support after he left them; having instead, countless excuses for his lack of responsibility to her and their large family.
What I saw was a woman who worked hard, did the best she possibly could to make ends meet and loved her children beyond measure.
James tells us our religion (our “faith life”) is pure when we support widows and orphans. I would say to you, after our culture’s modern-day redefinition and abandonment of traditional/biblical marriage structure, modern-day widows and orphans abound. Many of these poor ladies are doing all that they can for their children. Enabling? Ha! We in the Body of Christ need to come alongside by practicing pure religion and support them with every means possible, including financially, with mentoring, being the fix-it/handyperson around the house, in essence all that the husband should have been doing.
And, let’s not forget, we have a responsibility to win back the brother from his errant ways ‒ to his vowed bonds, his life’s love, and husbandly duties.
Today's Generosity Challenge:
As you read this, who comes to mind? I’m sure you have a single mother and family in your church or neighborhood. How can you thoughtfully and creatively support them? Can you provide babysitting? Clean house? Pay for summer camp? And the errant husband? What’s God showing you to do? Well? ... as even Nike says: ‘Just do it.’ Write down your experiences below.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.