This is part of a series in which I will be answering some of the difficult questions we face as Christians, from an exegetical, Biblical perspective. In this particular series on “Is It My…”, you can read the article on the widows and orphans.


The Old Testament is filled with many exhortations to care for widows, orphans, and strangers (Heb. gēr). The book of James provides us with the most explicit New Testament charge to do so; James 1:27 says, “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.” While this verse is in the context of true Christian religion, it also echoes Deuteronomy 16:14, which speaks of helping the widow, orphan, and stranger.

The apostle James is telling us in this verse that this is, indeed, the responsibility of all true believers. In addition, James is warning us against the worldliness that has infected many people professing faith in Christ, and the “religion” they practice today. Worldly religion often focuses more on increasing profits and comforts than on giving up worldly attachments and focusing on Christ. It is empty, and worldly religion is futile, because true Biblical religion is not based on man’s works, but the amazing saving work of Jesus Christ. Biblical religion is a response of thankfulness to God by helping the needy. And needless to say, worldly religion cannot save anyone.

To expound on this, let me give you an example: Recently, during the pandemic, we began making arrangements to help the homeless inour community in whatever way we could. At first, it was simply sending funds directly to a shelter. However, as restrictions began being lifted, we began visiting a local park that we believed sheltered many who had fallen through the cracks, so to speak, of our society.

After meeting with and talking to them, we realized that despite our initial attempts at helping them by sending funds to a shelter, our efforts were only feeding one person while the rest were going hungry. As a result of this realization, we shifted gears to first providing hot meals to this small community of people.

I quickly became aware of the burden these homeless people felt over having no one to turn to, besides God, and we began to adopt this as our own burden as well. We quickly learned that we had no friends of our own to ask to come over and cook meals, and due to coronavirus restrictions, we were unable to serve the meals ourselves.

In these types of situations, we should not let pride or other such feelings get in the way of our helping those in need, no matter who that may be. Why would we hold back on being a blessing?

I challenge you to find ways to help both those in your church and those outside your church. No matter who you choose to bless, it is not your work. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in you. Never stop focusing on Christ’s work on the cross that provided the basis for this spiritual work in us! That is the reason why we have the opportunity and privilege to do these things in obedience to Christ.


If you are interested in reading more about helping the least of these, I recommend the following book:

“The Hole in Our Holiness” by Kevin DeYoung

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