“Don’t call yourself a believer if you’re not caring for orphans”, “If we are doing little to nothing, how dare we, how dare we claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.”… “Followers of Jesus Christ care about widows and orphans and they understand that it is a litmus test…It is not an option.”
Those are the more salient points that Kay Warren, wife of Rick Warren, made at a recent Catalyst West conference. Let’s examine those statements a bit. The first thing of note is that she puts a great deal of emphasis on orphans, but not so much on widows. I find this a little surprising for a few reasons. The first is that caring for widows is mentioned far more often than caring for orphans in the scriptures. In the New Testament, orphans are only mentioned once, actually. In fact, in almost every scripture that mentions caring for orphans and the fatherless, right along side is caring for widows. [and usually foreigners] They go hand in hand. There’s almost 30 verses in fact that have them side by side, such as ” Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men, nor will he pity the fatherless and widows, for everyone is ungodly and wicked, every mouth speaks vileness. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.” Whoah! Sorry guys! Did NOT mean to post that one. That’s very, very unGodly of God. Let’s try again; “Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.” Zechariah 7:10. Much better.
If we were being consistent then, we wouldn’t just single one marginalized people group out, but it would hold true that the statement could and should read “Don’t call yourself a believer if you’re not caring for widows… “If we are doing little to nothing, how dare we, how dare we claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.” I’ll be honest and say that when looking at the span of my Christian walk, I have not cared very much for widows. I suppose I have given tithes to the local church which is supposed to offer some monetary care for them, but I can’t be sure how much actually goes into the widow fund. And so in the grand scheme of things, were I being realistic, I would have to say that I have done little to nothing to help the widows. I also haven’t done anything that I know of for orphans. I mean, my wife and I do sponsor three children through world vision and compassion, but I can’t pretend that they are orphans. Don’t get me wrong- I wish they were orphans, as that would offer me a modicum of relief. But they’re not. I’m cursed to help care for children who have mothers and fathers, which means that I fail on that one too. Oh who am I kidding myself? I’m not a Christian at all. I mean, I know that I’ve repented of my damnable sins and put my faith and trust in Christ as the redeemer of my sins and the only one who could wash and justify and sanctify me, as he took my sins and he gave me his righteousness by grace alone through faith alone- but that doesn’t really count. What a fool I’ve been…how dare I claim to be a follower of Christ? His work on the cross clearly doesn’t maintain my salvation, rather it is dependent on how many orphans I adopt and care for. I wish Kay Warren would have told me this sooner. I’d better get on it! In fact, come to think of it, I certainly hope the orphans are caring for other orphans so they can be saved too! Oh man, sorry guys- I have to go! Gotta go find me an orphan to take care of, because if I get hit by a bus and die before that happens, I’m doomed!!!!