By team member James Fok:
For the past couple of weeks, I have been reading and re-reading the book of James for my quiet times. This morning before we headed off to church, I was meditating on James 1:27:
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Personally, I was particularly convicted by the first part of the verse as I reflected on the passivity in my own life in terms of caring for those that society may neglect. As Christians in the United States, we may often be so immersed into our routines, our ambitions in life, our victories, and our trials that we may never pause and ask ourselves: How would Jesus describe my religion? Is it “pure and undefiled”? Do I seriously care for those that God cares for?
Throughout the rest of my day, I reflected on these questions.
Two events occurred today that continued to impress on me the truth that God demands that His followers serve those such as orphans and widows.
The first occurred this morning when my team (“Team A”) went to a church where the pastor preached on Micah 6:6-8. He spoke about how this passage describes how our God ultimately delights that His people do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly before Him. During the sermon, the pastor brought up the importance of social justice and how Christians ought to be engaged in advocating for those such as orphans and widows.
At the end of the service, each member of Team A received an intricate vase as a gift from the local church. I was very struck by their immense act of generosity. I asked myself: How is it that these Hondurans can be so hospitable when they may not be well-off themselves? Since God has so richly blessed me in my life, how much more should I use my gifts, time, and financial resources to have a “pure and undefiled” religion!
The second event occurred this afternoon after lunch when I spent the majority of my afternoon with many other team members counting pills such as vitamins and Tylenol. As a pharmacist working in the United States, I realize that many of us would not walk for hours to get routine medications like the ones we packed today. And yet, this week, I know that for many of these Hondurans, they will sacrifice much time and effort to receive medical care and acquire medications that many of us in the United States easily take for granted. Those we serve in Honduras are certainly those that James 1:27 describes. Many of them come from broken families and often are not cared for physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Today, I was reminded once again that we can serve the helpless only because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we were once spiritually helpless, lost in sin. But God, while we were yet sinners, sent His Son to live the righteous life we could never live and die the death we deserved. I look forward to the rest of this week as we endeavor to serve orphans, widows, and others who are helpless–all because God, in Christ, first served us!