If 1 out of every 7 Christians adopted, there would be no more orphans. 1 out of every 7.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Because, I know our intention when we started this adoption. I know we knew it was a calling from God. We were able to quote at the very least 5 times in the Bible when God specifically mentions caring for the orphans. He calls Himself “The God of the fatherless.” A handful of times as well. He talks about “the least of these” and “the last will be first” and things of that nature. Zach and I knew we were both selfish and spiritual in our quest to adopt our little Tariku. We chose an older child because we knew these were, in fact, “the least of these” in the adoption community. We knew they lingered in orphanages far longer than their younger counterparts and we also knew our hearts were ready for a kid who walked and talked and knew the right direction to the bathroom (though not the right place to spray, as it turns out). So Tariku was handed to us by the One and Only and we are ever thankful.
Of course with that 1 in 7 statistic that also assumes 1 out of 7 want a child. If there aren’t that many Christians out there who want children in the first place, things get complicated. But then there’s those of us who would have 20 if our finances could squeeze it in. Point being, first there must be the want of another child. There are some Christian leaders who don’t agree with that necessarily; the fact is God never called us for a comfortable life void of all suffering. But I’m from the camp that believes taking on another child when one is not necessarily wanted would not be what God had intended for that child or family. But…moving on.
Last weekend at church we had Bono kind of lead the sermon. They showed a clip of an interview with him that was pretty amazing and guess what, I cried. One of my favorite things he said was that life isn’t about “pie in the sky”. We can’t walk around waiting for heaven. God didn’t tell us to sit around and wait to die because heaven is going to be that good. Our mission is to bring heaven to earth. Andy, our worship leader, distinguished between vertical worship (singing praises in church, etc) and horizontal worship (being the hands and feet of God). Our mission is horizontal worship. The fact of that matter is, if we’re okay to sit in our fancy homes and eat our fancy meals and wear our khakis and not be seriously disturbed by the fact that this world looks NOTHING like heaven, then we are not doing our Christinanly duty. We are anything BUT the hands and feet. We’d be more like the butt and toenails, necessary but nasty at times.
Bono also reminded us (and told me, I had never heard it before) that Jesus only speaks of judgement or hell twice. But he speaks of love and caring for others all the time. One of the time he speaks of judgement he talks about separating people at what has commonly been referred to as the pearly gates. He says God will separate between the sheep and the goats. The sheep will be the ones who cared for the least of these. The ones who clothed him when he was naked, who visited him in jail, who fed him when he was hungry. The people remind Jesus that he had never been in jail to which Jesus answers, “Yes, but I say whatever you do to the least of these you do to me.”
I was all jazzed up by Andy’s worship and message and then by the U2 leader himself. I was horribly disappointed, however, to have no call to action after the service. They had laid rocks at the front of the stage for people to walk by and be reminded of the Liberian children we sponsor through church who spend all day in a rock quarry for something like a nickel a day. Touching, I do admit, but to be quite honest I’ve only thought about that twice since Sunday. What I wanted was a call to action. A church leader to stand up and convince us (me included) that we are not doing enough horizontal worship. Sure, I may sing as loud as I possibly can, raise my hands to the sky and cry my eyes out during vertical worship but who sees that but the other Christians around me who are doing the same thing? I can tell you the Ethiopians who are dying from hunger don’t see my vertical worship and see that as any saving grace to them.
I think so many Christians have no idea what it means to be the hands and feet. What do I do? Where do I start? Where do I focus my energies when the world is filled with places that need the strength and hope of Jesus? These are all good questions but I don’t think God only calls us when we’re good and ready. We need to be seriously disturbed RIGHT NOW. Start anywhere, really! But I think church leaders need to give thousands of outlets for people to get started. Got a business person who doesn’t want to do missions but has the brains that might help to get micro-loans kick started in countries who need self-sustaining options? Send them to ANYWHERE in Africa and watch the effect of an entire community be transformed by the grace and hope of one Godly person. Got someone who might be interested in orphan care and possibly adopt but don’t have the money to pay for something like it? Start a separate fund where other people can donate (and receive a tax deduction!) and help out. That list is not exhaustive and are not earth shattering ideas. But it’s something and it’s somewhere to start.
All this said, I’m still one of those who has just started my horizontal worship. I’m still in the infancy stage, suckling on the horizontal worship mommy’s breast (Zach only reads this if I mention boobs, what can I say?). I’ve taken the huge leap of faith that was adoption and have found myself restless since to begin God’s work in any way I can. I truly hope it’s in Ethiopia, but who knows? I know I’m ready. I know I’m thinking every…single…day about what my strengths are and how they can benefit a country who has given me so very much. I know I’m on the edge of my seat, knowing Coach is going to be calling me into the game sometime very soon and I wonder how I’ll play. Will I disappoint? Will I lead the charge for others? Will I have to take a sacrificial foul to save time on the clock? Don’t know, but I know there HAVE to be more Christians out there like me. Keep your eyes on the prize, whoever you are, our time will come soon.
Oh, and if you think you might want another child…ADOPT!