James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Have you ever really thought about James’ words in this verse? Pure and undefined religion, that’s what we are all really looking for. Notice he didn’t say you have to do these things to be spiritual or religious (in a good sense). He was saying that these are the characteristics of spiritual people. Jesus said it like this, “You will know them by their fruit”. Our actions declare our inner spirituality. Ministering to hurting people in a practical way (orphans and widows) is the outflow of the life of God in our soul. If you are saved and spiritually healthy God’s love will compel you to reach out to the broken. That was what the ministry of Jesus was all about, that’s what true ministry is about today. Find someone hurting worse than you are and love them in a practical way. Here are some thoughts from Billy Graham on what he calls Christian service.
“In our world today Christian service is often mistaken for humanitarian service. The important thing to remember is that Christ called His followers to proclaim His message, and this is done in various ways. Ministering to people’s souls is far greater than providing only physical needs. Often, however, we earn the opportunity to share Christ when a helpful hand has been extended to someone in need. Then you can say with Paul, ‘I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience’ (v. 3). The Lord demonstrated the truest service when He willingly left the glories of Heaven to live among men, then die for them. Jesus entered into the arena of human troubles. He wept with people and rejoiced with them in their victories. We must do no less. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many”
Our church has become a tapestry of ministry to hurting people. There is Mary’s Song for troubled women, and 180 for guys who have lost their way. There is the healing room where the sick are ministered to as well as outreaches to assisted living homes, the homeless, and to youth at the high schools. There are these more official ministries as well as the hurting people the Lord brings our way everyday. Again, find someone who is hurting even if you also are going through difficult times. Many times it is in pouring out the oil on others that we experience the restoring power of God.