Being Sheep

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep."John 10:14-15

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Who is My Neighbor?

When a beautiful orphaned child from Africa finds a loving family through international adoption, does God say, "Well, I guess I'm a little happy. But I wish that they would have adopted an American child--you know, they ought to take care of their own first!"??

That's not the God I serve. The God I serve sets the lonely in families. (Psalm 86:6)

The God I serve says that true, pure, faultless religion that he accepts is "to look after orphans and widows in their distress". (James 1:27)

The God I serve commanded his people to leave leftover crops in their fields for the poor. (Leviticus 23:22)

The God I serve "defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing." Deuteronomy 10:18

The God I serve "raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor."1 Samuel 2:8

The God I serve is "a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows." (Psalm 68:5)

The God I serve "watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow."(Psalm 146:9

The God I serve says, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in." (Matthew 25:35)

The God I serve told Cornelius in Acts, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God." Acts 10:4

The God I serve says, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:17-18

Do not ask me why I adopted internationally rather than "one of my own", for if you love God all orphans and needy people are "your own". God was not the one to draw the border lines on your maps.

I could write a long paragraph giving all the reasons we chose to adopt internationally, but it can easily be explained in one sentence:

"There was a little boy there who needed a home, and God told us to go. So we went."

This does not mean I have something against domestic adoption, or that I think African kids are "better" or "more deserving" of homes and families than any others. In fact, there's a very good chance our next adoption will be through the American foster system. But I will never, ever regret going where God told me to go. It didn't work out very well for Jonah, and I'm guessing it wouldn't have worked very well for us either.

From Luke 10

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

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