I've been dealing with a particular subject lately in my quiet time - widows and orphans. It is clear in Scripture that we are to take care of the widows and the orphans, but to what extent are we called? And are we called to help the orphan, but not the widow? Some would say they are only called to help one or the other. Others would say neither. Where one is mentioned, they are usually both mentioned. Personally I think it's a heart thing. If you are willing to follow Christ wherever He leads, He will lead you to who you can help.
I have felt for some time that our church is "church to the widows". Some may think I'm making light of the situation when I say that, but it's true - and I'm not. Approximately twenty percent of the ladies we've ministered to at our church are widows (some have already gone Home). That's a lot! And though it's true, a widow living in this country in this century doesn't deal with all of the hardships that a widow dealt with in Jesus' day, they still deal with loneliness, failing health and losing their independence. Our government has made arrangements to provide food and shelter and a little money, but it doesn't go far.
My grandmother was a widow until she died at age 80. Her husband died of cancer when he was 42 and she was 33. He had two children from a previous marriage she raised with him and they had eight children together - for a total of ten! When he passed away, my mom was eight, the oldest was twenty years old - the youngest was six weeks. Yes, I know the widow. She scraped by for many years, working when she could, but always taking care of her family. Staying up all hours of the night to sew clothes for her girls and sew patches on blue jeans for her boys, mostly living on social security. Not all widows are feeble old women - though they need us, too. Some are young with all of their dreams shattered and a house full of kids that no one will help. I can hear the chatter from the women in the church, "She should've known better than to have all those kids - now look at her", "I can't afford to feed one meal to that family, those boys would eat me out of house and home" or "If I take one meal, they'll just start expecting it". My grandmother quit going to church after my grandpa died. She never spoke of why, but I have a feeling I know why. Besides the work it would take to get that many kids to church, the church wasn't knocking on her door to help out.
As I look upon our church and the sweet people in it, I know why God has placed us here. Yes, we are church to the widows. We may not be growing in numbers as fast as most say we should, but God is using us to provide friendship, protection and love to them, and He is using them to teach and train us more than I could have dreamed! What wisdom and knowledge I'm gleaning! I have grown so close to them, it's like having my grandma with me again. This time in our lives is a sweet time that I wouldn't trade. I love these people with my whole heart!
God will give you His eyes if you are seeking opportunities to help. If He leads you to help an orphan, don't turn Him down. But please don't forget the widow(er). A kind word or deed may be all that's needed.