Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Our Next Book Club Post-Fields Of The Fatherless- Chapter 2

First I would like to say that last week's discussion was great! I really enjoyed it and learned a lot. This system of learning from each other in a kind, respectful manner was EXACTLY what I hoped to see happen. Thanks for helping that happen.
_
I was personally challenged to get down to the nitty gritty of what I believe God's heart is for my money. (or HIS money I should say!) It is something I have been intending to research and pray about for a long time. Thanks for giving me the kick in the pants to think it through. I started researching like crazy and was amazed by all that I discovered. My husband and I feel peaceful and encouraged now that we have worked through it. We are still doing some thinking BUT we've got a lot more clarity on God's heart in this area.
_
If you missed reading through the comments that were left under the last book club post I encourage you to go do that. Thank you so much for your active participation. It has been so great. If you have not had time to leave your comment yet it is not too late. Go ahead and chime in. It's also never too late to join right in and start reading with us.
_
OK!!! HERE WE GO! CHAPTER 2!
_
The Fatherless Today
_
Another great chapter!! I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this one.
_
Who are the fatherless today? Yes, of course it is these children all over the world who are starving and alone. That is not where it stops though. We have "fatherless" people all around us.
-
-The widower at church
-The girl who babysits for you with no father at home
-The single mom next door who seems overwhelmed with life
-The unruly little boy in your child's class who keeps getting shuffled to new foster homes.
-your grandma
-a lonely college student from another country
-
The list goes on and on. I think sometimes we feel discouraged that we don't have anything to give. We think that "someday when we have money" we will help. Yet how many of us have an extra blanket or some extra food in the pantry? How many of us have an hour to read to a child in a children's home or take a widow to the grocery store? I love this quote by Tom...
-_
After all, the needs of the fatherless are not only financial, so throwing a check at the problem once a month isn't the answer. Their needs are also social, emotional and spiritual- needs money alone cannot solve.
-_
SO TRUE! We can start with the people God has put right in front of our path. We don't have to have a lot of money to care and begin to make a difference. We can use what God has given us to make a difference. We should be sharing WHATEVER God has blessed us with. We can't ignore it.
_-
One of the stories Tom Davis talks about is Ruth and Boaz in the Bible. What a beautiful illustration of God's heart for those in need. I get a little misty when I read it. Do you remember the story? Ruth's husband has died. She is now caring for her mother-in-law (who is also a widow) and herself in a foreign land. She is extremely vulnerable and most likely very scared. Ruth has virtually no way to provide all that they will need. Can you imagine being in her shoes at that time in history? The law did say that she could pick up the left overs on the ground after a harvest to provide food for themselves.
-_
Ruth 2
_-
Ruth Meets Boaz Now Naomi had a relative on her husband's side, from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz.
-
And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor."
-
Naomi said to her, "Go ahead, my daughter." So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.
-
Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, "The LORD be with you!"
"The LORD bless you!" they called back.
-
Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, "Whose young woman is that?"
-
The foreman replied, "She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.' She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter."
-
So Boaz said to Ruth, "My daughter, listen to me. Don't go and glean in another field and don't go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled."
-
At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, "Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?"
-
Ruth ends up marrying Boaz. Through his kindness to a poor widow Boaz found his wife. What a beautiful picture of God's heart for us! I love this story.
-
What about Job? Remember God said he was THE MOST righteous man who had ever lived. He was absolutely dedicated to the fatherless. When he asserted his integrity before God here is what he said...
-
Job 31:16-23
-
"Have I ignored the needs of the poor,
turned my back on the indigent,
Taken care of my own needs and fed my own face
while they languished?
-
Wasn't my home always open to them?
Weren't they always welcome at my table?
"Have I ever left a poor family shivering in the cold
when they had no warm clothes?
-
Didn't the poor bless me when they saw me coming,
knowing I'd brought coats from my closet?
"If I've ever used my strength and influence
to take advantage of the unfortunate,
-
Go ahead, break both my arms,
cut off all my fingers!
The fear of God has kept me from these things—
how else could I ever face him?
-
WOW!!!! This is the man that was the most RIGHTEOUS in the whole world. If ANYONE knew what was dear to God's heart it was this man! He gives God permission to break his bones if he has not cared for or taken advantage of those in need. He says he could not even FACE God if he had not cared for them. Wow...
-
God's heart is PASSIONATE about this group of people. God repeatedly refers to justice for them. He commands us not to "distort the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow." (Dueteronomy 27:19) What does justice mean to God?? It means not caring for them in the way God commands us. Here is how Tom puts it...
-
In other words, the sure way to deprive the poor of the justice due them is to do nothing!
-
DOING NOTHING!!!! THAT is what we are most guilty of I think. We seem to rationalize that if we are not directly harming anyone then we are okay. Yet here is what the Bible has to say about that..
-
1John 3:16-17
-
But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
--
Ummmmm... Can I hear a collective OUCH?!?!
_
James 2:14-17
-
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
-
Here is Tom's take on it ...
-
I honestly believe when you strip Christianity down to its basics, this is what it means. To feed, clothe, and treat the fatherless as members of one's own family is to live out the call of Jesus Christ.
-
Luke 3:11
-
John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."
-
Think about it. What was Jesus ministry all about? Loving on the "fatherless." It's what He was all about. He said we should worry more about two things than anything else... We should love God and love the people around us. By doing this all the other stuff will fall into place.
-


I think this video speaks to how we often feel about this task God has given us. Who we are and the mark we make is up to us. I don't want to someday realize what I COULD have done with my life if I hadn't been so selfish...so afraid.



There is, of course, so much more to this chapter!! Please share your thoughts. I can hardly wait to hear what you have to say. :0) Hugs! Angel
-
What was your favorite part of the chapter?
-
Why was that your favorite part?
-
Who do you see as the "fatherless" in your life?

5 comments:

Ruthanne said...

Angel--hope you're feeling better soon. I looked for the book club last night and got worried when I couldn't find it. I thought I had missed a posting. lol
There were a couple of things in this chapter that hit me. Two of the biggest things were when the author kept mentioning children with no fathers and single mothers. In about two weeks, I will be one of those single mothers and my child will have no father (that he knows). But, I certainly don't feel like I want/need people to think of me as one of the ones they should be taking care of. I feel that I need to do more for others and I kept thinking, "I hope people don't think that we need pity/help all the time." I'm strong, I make decent money, and I have a good support system. I don't want people to automatically think of my child as a "fatherless child" but rather to see him for the person that he is. But I know the author isn't referring to me---rather to people who DO need help.
And then I read the "Notes from the Field" and thought, 'that's totally me'. I don't like to ask other people for help and it almost has to be forced on me to be able to accept it. I have changed somewhat in that respect since starting the adoption process. I am more willing to accept help for my son's sake...rather than for my own sake.
So what did I mainly get out of this chapter? This: all of us need help once in a while. The fatherless, the widows and the single moms should not be seen as only that. Although they may need help, they also have much to offer in return---maybe not to the person giving the help (although just the blessing that comes from doing God's work is enough)---but they may be able to offer something to someone else now or in the future. It kind of goes with the whole "Pay it Forward" thought.
So, this is not about pity or sympathy, but more about doing what God has told us to do. How empowering for someone who has received help to be able to offer help to someone else--not necessarily financially, but maybe emotionally, spiritually. Ruth accepted help from Boaz, but ended up providing him with something that he needed/desired also---a good wife.
I hope that made some sort of sense. I feel a bit 'rambly'.

Ruthanne

The McKenzie Crew said...

how ya feelin there sis???

Angel said...

:0) You crack me up Julia

Kim said...

Here's an example of someone taking care of orphans and widows. I LOVE Mark Schultz (I love most singer/songwriters). Check out what he has done.

http://www.markschultzmusic.com/news-detail.php?pageid=4797&newsid=1104

Amy said...

Angel, Sorry I haven't chimed in with the book club. I read the book previously, and have searched high and low for my copy. I think I donated it to the church library, though I distinctly remember thinking I needed to hang onto it. Oh well.

I think there are many "fatherless" people we don't always recognize. For me two of my nephews are the fatherless in my life and they need so much guidance as young men, their need is not financial it is spiritual.

In the story of Ruth, it seems to me that Boaz reached out to Ruth in several ways- he provided food and water, he sought to protect her by telling her where to glean and instructed the workers to leave her alone. At times I want to do one thing and think I am done; I prayed with them, I sent a meal, etc. We need to be careful to realize that we need to be building relationships, with Christ as the foundation, because the needs of the fatherless don't simply go away, often they are ongoing. If I'm really honest, the thing that I have the hardest time sharing with others is my time - and many times the fatherless are in need of someone willing to give of their time-to help around the house, to listen, to care. I have been convicted lately that I am very selfish with my time. (these are my ramblings) :)