James 1:27 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.
Our Thanksgiving Outreach has become one of our church’s favorite ministries that we do every year. It is simple and involves everyone’s personal involvement. I think the combination of pouring out to needy people, fellowshipping with friends and family, and the benefit of good food is a no lose situation. It is more blessed to give than to receive. If you pay close attention you may discover an important spiritual truth; there is great joy involved in ministering to others. Just as many of us have discovered the unspeakable joy in receiving from the Lord. There is a similar joy involved in pouring out love on others. Flowing into us and flowing out of us, the River is a place of incredible joy. Here is how Adam Clarke describes today’s scripture verse.
“Works of charity and mercy are the proper fruits of religion; and none are more especially the objects of charity and mercy than the orphans and widows. False religion may perform acts of mercy and charity; but its motives not being pure, and its principle being defiled, the flesh, self, and hypocrisy, spot the man, and spot his acts. True religion does not merely give something for the relief of the distressed, but it visits them, it takes the oversight of them, it takes them under its care. It goes to their houses, and speaks to their hearts; it relieves their wants, sympathizes with them in their distresses, instructs them in Divine things and recommends them to God. And all this it does for the Lord’s sake. This is the religion of Christ. The religion that does not prove itself by works of charity and mercy is not of God. Reader, what religion hast thou? Has thine ever led thee to cellars, garrets, cottages, and houses, to find out the distressed? Hast thou ever fed, clothed, and visited a destitute representative of Christ?”
So as we finish another Thanksgiving season I want to offer all of us a challenge. Could it be possible that we would make our lives more enjoyable if we made ministry to the poor part of our lifestyle? If there is a joy in giving let’s not wait for Feed the Multitudes or Thanksgiving Outreach; let’s start right now. There is a place of joy in serving set aside just for you.