Article Jan 12, 2018

How you can resolve to help the vulnerable this year

The start of a new year is usually brimming with resolutions as to how we want to improve ourselves. Perhaps you desire to eat fewer carbs, spend less time at the office, spend more time at the gym, read more biographies, or take on a new hobby. While these are all worthy goals, as citizens of heaven, I think we should resolve to improve our pursuit of God’s kingdom on earth.

For the believer, our highest priority is to seek the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33). As we do this, our values will begin to reflect God’s values. Russell Moore says in Onward, “The kingdom tells us what matters and who matters, and that the criteria for that is sharply different from the social Darwinist values of success, power, utility, or strength.”

Valuing the vulnerable

God values the vulnerable, and one of the ways we can be more like him is to care for the vulnerable ones around us. We were all vulnerable in our inability to save ourselves from God's wrath. But God didn’t abandon us in our vulnerability; he had compassion for us. He sent his son. In the book, You Can Change, Tim Chester says, “Jesus was God getting involved with us.”

God values the vulnerable, and one of the ways we can be more like him is to care for the vulnerable ones around us.

God is with us. He is Immanuel (Matt. 1:23) and is characterized by his compassion for us. As his image bearers (Gen. 1:27), we must be known by our compassion, too. Are we not ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), representing him and his kingdom on earth? So, in response to the grace shown to us by our father, I pray we would get involved in the lives of the vulnerable as we seek to proclaim God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Here are a few ways to help the vulnerable.

Become a prayer warrior. Fight on your knees. Pray for those in bondage. We do this because we worship the chain-breaking God.

Stand for life. This means more than being against abortion. Value the imago Dei in all human life. Russell Moore says in Onward, “Human dignity is about the kingdom of God.” Join the ERLC in January in Washington, D.C., as we gather with others passionate about all of life at the Evangelicals for Life Conference. You can livestream the conference if you’re not able to attend in person.

Engage the global orphan crisis. Foster, adopt, and support families who do. Fight for the preservation of families by walking alongside families in crisis. Participate in sustainable income projects around the world to help families afford to provide for themselves.

Honor the elderly. Bring your kids to visit widows in nursing homes. Include elderly couples, widows, and widowers around your dinner table. Help with physical labor in their homes.

Encourage persecuted Christians. Write letters to imprisoned believers around the world. Sign up for the free newsletter from Voice of the Martyrs to learn more.

Battle against abortion. Honor life from the womb to the tomb. Support political candidates who value life. Walk alongside expectant mothers struggling to make the decision to keep their babies.

Help single parents. Come alongside them in the demands of raising children. Babysit, help with chores, include them around your dinner table.

Invite refugees into your life. Introduce them to people who can help them find work. Tutor their children. Practice conversational English with them. Set up playdates for your kids and theirs.

Show compassion to the homeless. Keep gift cards for common food places in your car to give to the homeless when you see them on your city streets. Volunteer your time to serve at a local homeless shelter. Engage in conversations, and share the love of Christ with them.

Fight for freedom for modern-day slaves. Educate yourself about the global human trafficking problem. Advocate before your sphere of influence on their behalf. Seek to be a wise consumer, only buying from companies that make products in ethical ways. Flee from pornography, which fuels the sex trade. Eliminating the demand for pornography is a practical way to fight human trafficking.

Partner with parachurch organizations and justice ministries. Find organizations that help the local church serve vulnerable people. Some examples include 127 Worldwide, a nonprofit that partners with local leaders around the world caring for orphans and widows, and Safe Families, a nonprofit that partners with families in crisis by providing temporary care for their children while they work through critical circumstances.

Befriend orphans as they age out of foster care or children’s homes. Welcome them into your homes. Include them in your family meals. Help them find jobs and scholarship opportunities. Take them shopping to provide a new outfit for interviews. Help them launch into adulthood financially and relationally.

Show hospitality to people of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds. Widen your social circles to reflect God’s valuing of diversity. Your home is your base of operations. Use it for God’s glory.

Be an advocate. God commands in Proverbs 31:8, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Use your voice for the voiceless. Leverage your influence for the vulnerable. We must create a culture of advocacy, remembering that advocacy has its origins in Christ. He is our advocate before the father (1 John 2:1).

Seek justice for the vulnerable. Isaiah 1:17 says, “Learn to do good; seek justice; correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless; plead the widow’s cause.” Seeking justice should be a default mode for Christians. As image bearers of the God of justice (Isa. 30:18), we should be seeking reconciliation for that which sin has broken.

Meditate on Matthew 25:31-46. In this passage, Jesus explains how our care for the vulnerable is reflective of how we care for him. He emphasizes to the righteous and the wicked that their concern for the marginalized demonstrates their concern for him. Likewise, their disregard for the poor, sick, and displaced is seen by God as disregard for himself.

David Platt says, “And while we stand with conviction and courage, we must live with compassion. Amid a world with massive social needs around us, ranging from desperate poverty and orphan crises and millions of girls being trafficked for sex, to the degradation of marriage and the abortion of babies, we need to speak and act with selfless love on all of these issues.”

As you determine what you want to do better this year, remember the vulnerable. Concern yourself with their plight, and get involved with them as God graciously involves himself with you. Resolve to pursue God’s kingdom on earth by caring for the vulnerable through compassionate living.