At any given point in time, there are approximately 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. An estimated 293,000 children are at risk of being sexually trafficked in the United States. In 2011, 46.2 million Americans lived in poverty.
The Bible speaks very clearly about our responsibility to serve those who are marginalized and needy. Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Yet, if and when we are motivated to help those who are marginalized, our motivations may be less than honorable.
I often find myself serving because I feel guilty or because no one else volunteers. Sometimes I ignore the more difficult commands of God altogether, feeling satisfied only with pursuing the commands I can comfortably obey. I fear getting my hands dirty and seeking out those who are marginalized and oppressed simply because I love comfort.
Christ spent a vast majority of His time with the marginalized and oppressed. He could have easily remained at the temple to teach, but He pursued those who did not feel welcome at the temple. His call rings in my ears: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). He took up His cross. He ransomed me by His blood. He loved in the greatest way—by laying down His life.
My motivation for seeking justice for the fatherless, the widow and the downtrodden must come from a heart that is free. My freedom allows me to see others through the lens of the gospel, knowing that God is near to the brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18). And nothing can make me want to love those who are struggling except the overflowing love of Christ.
May we labor in prayer for our own hearts, begging the Father to enliven us to the hope of the gospel, not only for ourselves but for all the world. And may He grant us hearts that strive to seek justice for our neighbors, both around the corner and around the world. The need is great, but He is able to do more than all we can ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).