As many of you may know I work in the world of Foster Care. I work for a non-profit agency in my own town where I serve as a Clinical Supervisor for a program designed to be one-step down from a residential setting. Residential settings can range from group homes, psychiatric facilities, hospitals or other long term congregant care settings. I see this mission and work of foster care as one of the greatest privileges I could have as a professional. The work is extremely difficult but worth every effort. Despite the difficulties my team and I face on a regular basis, the one thing that drives my vision for why I should persevere in this work is this: I am a Christian.
From the time I became a Christian nearly twenty years ago, a refrain that has echoed in the back of my mind is how can I engage in the most important work a person can do as a Christian? My career journey has taken a very windy road. Over the years, I have faced many difficult questions about the purpose of my career choices if they do not involve some internal drive toward something bigger than myself; namely, the kingdom of God. I do think sharing and preaching the gospel is the most important work we can do as a created beings. However, the next step is crucial – how shall I live when my neighbor is being abused or neglected; when my neighbor is being trafficked; when my neighbor’s parents are absent or when my neighbor…fill in the blank. There is no shortage of the sorts of suffering I know you’ve seen your neighbor endure.
So, from time to time, my heart faces fresh reminding and often fresh repentance when reading passages like James 1:27. We have to be honest with ourselves and ask – could the children in our foster care system today be the “orphans” that James referred to many years ago in this text? I think the simple is yes. There needs to be more Christians in foster care. Here are 5 Reasons why the Church can’t outsource James 1:27. I want to list three more reasons why Christians should consider foster care.
3 Reasons Christians should consider serving in foster care
REASON 1: We were orphans once, too.
Meaning, God saved us out of our plight of a hopeless life and had he not intervened, we would be spiritual orphans whose destiny remained under judgment for all eternity. God brought us from death to life (Romans 6:23), saved us by his grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), and in light of our redemption we too ought to be seek to become all things to all men so that by all possible means we might save some (1 Cor 9:22). Foster care is fertile ground where the wonderful truths of the gospel can fall on desperate hearts, thus fulfilling our mission to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
REASON 2: It’s a time to learn to be like Jesus
Meaning, if you ever end up having the privilege of opening your home for a child to come live with you, you will learn in big gulps what exactly it is to face the trauma inflicted within the sin-stained world. The damage of sin is perfuse, and by bringing an orphan into your home you are now challenged like you’ve never been challenged before to exercise the same patience, same love, same compassion, same endurance, same forgiveness, same sacrifice, same grace as our Father in Heaven extended to you in Jesus. While we were stills sinners Christ died (Romans 5:8). God did not wait for you to get it together before he extended his grace to you. His love for you is a total and complete act of his amazing, amazing grace.
REASON 3: It’s a chance to build God’s kingdom
Meaning, the work we do on earth has eternal consequences. Whose kingdom do we build – ours or God’s? Inherent in our greatest work of preaching the gospel, and I wonder if it goes without saying, is that building the kingdom of God is the ultimate aim. We want others to be saved, others to know Christ, others to know what sin is and what grace is, others to also go and do the same…preach the gospel, too. This isn’t to say that by virtue of caring for an orphan, these children will become Christians; rather, what I am saying is that the kingdom of God is made up of former (spiritual) orphans gathering together under the mighty shelter of the Father’s wing, bound together by the blood of Christ, and while on Earth sharing in the labor of a grand invitation for orphans to come, taste and see that the Lord is good.