The Body of Christ: A Family For Those Without One

Kyle Parks   -  

“Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt. Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless.” -Exodus 22:21-22

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families he leads out the prisoners with singing” -Psalm 68:5-6

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” -Isaiah 1:17

Throughout the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets, God’s care for the least in the Kingdom challenges His people. He demands justice for those who are without a voice. To me personally, this is one of the brightest attributes that Israel (the light to all nations) was responsible for shining. In my experience with myself and others, it is not always first nature to actively seek out ways to help the least fortunate in our society. God however challenges us to do just that.

Like most things, this aspect of God’s character was emphasized by the servanthood of Christ. He was born into the lowest social class and devoted his life to lift up the lowly. His sermon on the mount began with empowering these people by letting them know their true place in the Kingdom of God. Informing them that God sees them and their hardship. He challenged His followers like God has always done, by saying, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) The Christian’s revolutionary call to act with compassion might just be the most powerful force in the history of the Church. So much so that the times in which we get it wrong, are the times we look most like the world.

Jesus’ body is proposed to be a group that draws in the lowest of the low. Those without a family. Those who have no support system. Those who have no family to show them love. Those with nowhere else to go. God designed a worldwide safety net for those of His image bearers that would otherwise slip through the cracks.

I have been sitting on these thoughts for about six months now. They were sparked when I read a passage in Galatians. Paul is explaining his relationship to the other apostles. He writes about when he finally met them and the conversation that took place. They shared their experiences and their plans. The disciples only had one stipulation for Paul as he continues alongside the apostles. In Paul’s words, “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.” (Galatians 1:10) How powerful is that?

So I pose this question to myself and to the Church, How well do we do at accomplishing God’s will for the least in His Kingdom? Do we put enough physical effort into remembering the poor?