Monday, November 28, 2011

Voice of the Voiceless

As I wrote on Saturday, I have been beginning to really look into what God's word says about poverty. Today I read a passage from Deuteronomy.

When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don't go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do. When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don't go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. When you gather grapes in your vineyard, don't glean the vines after they are picked. Leave the remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. - Deuteronomy 24:19-21

The Lord has given myself and also my family a heart for the widows and orphans of this world. These are some of the most vulnerable people on earth. They're considered easy targets. For widows, many of which live in male-dominated cultures, they have no men to protect them from those who would take advantage of them. In fact we've heard so many stories while in Uganda about people who have taken advantage of widows, using them to gain something whether it's receiving help for their own children at the widow's expense or taking over land or property. For the orphan, without parents to care for and watch over them, they are at the mercy of others. If a family agrees to take an orphaned child in and feed him so long as he works all day doing hard labor, that child has no choice but to do whatever will feed his stomach.

But God calls us to take a stand, to care for those who some consider sitting ducks. God is commanding us to look after orphans and widows. In the day that this passage was written, the illustration of fields, vineyards, and olive groves would have been easy to understand. While it still it, I think it's easy for us to say, "Well I don't harvest crops so this doesn't really apply to me." But that couldn't be less true. Whether we put a plow to the earth or not, we collect a harvest. We may not grow more rows of grain than we need, but do we make more money than we need? Notice I'm not talking about wants. I'm saying do we make more money than we need to cover our basic needs? We may not have olive trees, but do we something else to share, some talent or time to care for others?

If we love God as much as we claim to then we must obey Him. Part of that obedience is to take care of the widows and orphans of this world. We are to take a stand for those who have no voice to cry out for help, no strength to stand up for themselves, and no one else to turn to in a time of need.

- Aly

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