Blessed to be a Blessing
Doing what is required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven may be the
hardest thing you have ever done or, it may be as natural to you as
surrendering to a loved one. Entering into His Kingdom means (at
least) surrendering to His way of doing things. A part of His way of
doing things is to adopt those who are in need while teaching them
to adopt as well!
The concept of adopting people is something that we in the church
have not often, openly spoken about. When we think about adoption,
we think only of adopting children and even then, we only consider
those children who can contribute to OUR fulfillment. Rarely does
anyone think of adopting someone that no one else wants!! Almost
NEVER does anyone consider adopting someone because of
their needs. However, if you and I are a members of the family of God,
it is because we have been adopted- adopted primarily because of
OUR needs, and His Love. And before we were adopted by Him, we
were WORTHLESS to anyone BUT Him! And, as God has loved us, so
are we to love others.
We must adopt!
You and I were not born into God's family. But everyone has the
opportunity to be 're-born' into His family. That rebirth can certainly
be thought of as an 'adoption' (at least, the Apostle Paul thought
so - Ephesians 1:4-6 and elsewhere). So, by the Blood of the Lamb,
our old family heritage is transformed. By the Blood of the Lamb, we
are given a new 'bloodline'. We now are part of a new family! We are
claimed by The Lord Almighty God!! WE'VE BEEN ADOPTED!!
Now, before we were 'adopted' into the family of God, we were lost and
vulnerable, even "enemies" of God. Do you know anyone who is lost
and vulnerable? Some aged person? Some special needs person? Some
homeless person or family? Someone with diseases, deformities or
disabilities? Someone with personal or emotional issues or someone who
is vulnerable to substance abuse? Of COURSE you do! Well, think of
yourself as being as diseased and 'vulnerable' as that person (only
infinitely worse) when compared with God. Yet God choose you. He
ADOPTED you into His family to give to you all of the rights and
privileges of those who belong to Him. And, a part of your 'birthright'
from being re-born (adopted) into God's family is that you will imitate
Him (like a little child). YOU will adopt others into the family of God!
YOUR family! God rescued us from that into which we were born. You and
I will rescue others into His household. We were rescued to be rescuers.
We are blessed, to be a blessing!
Find a significant perspective on being 'born again' in the Gospel of John,
chapter 3, verses 1-8
Now, here's where things may become difficult for some. God has not
adopted us so that we can create our own genetic, racial, cultural or
ethnic legacy and empire. God has adopted us so that we can further
HIS spiritual legacy and Kingdom. We do not further His spiritual
legacy by focusing upon our own genetic legacy and/or upon the
American dream. No, there's nothing wrong with reproduction in a
God centered, mutually respectful and Kingdom oriented
marriage - so long as we do not let reproduction substitute for or
You see, reproduction is an allowed behavior, for those who love God.
But also, for those who love God, adoption is a required behavior ("This
is my commandment: Love as I have loved you..." John 13:34) and
adoption MUST take first priority. Those who love God keep His
commandments! When there are no more people to adopt (and there's
a whole lot of people that need to be adopted) there will be plenty of
time for reproduction. Don't worry. If you don't have a genetic legacy,
it doesn't matter. But if you and I don't further our Heavenly Father's
spiritual legacy, that's a pretty serious omission. (Matthew 7:15-23)
Find God's permissive blessing for reproduction in Genesis 1:28 and
Genesis 9:7. Note: this is NOT a commandment, as some worshippers of
growth would have us believe. While medical science may help with
reproduction, only God can grant permission to reproduce! And remember,
reproduction is allowed; adoption is required!
So, to whom does this teaching apply? Well, the Bible applies to people all
over the world and this emphasis on adoption is right out of the Bible. Why
is there terrorism? In part because people who 'say' they love God have left
people 'un-adopted' while insisting upon reproduction. Why is there
hunger? In part because people who 'say' they love God have insisted upon
a mindset of "family" that only includes those who are genetically related
to them. We fail to acknowledge that our 'family' MUST include all those
who can be 'adopted' into the family of God. When we refuse to adopt but
insist upon reproduction, we have made an 'idol' out of one of God's most
precious gifts! As people who love God, we're not allowed to have ANY
idols and we certainly cannot take any idols into the Kingdom of Heaven!!
Since we have left so many people un-adopted, do you wonder why our
world is in such a mess?
Okay, so, maybe you're like me and you don't have the resources to have
someone else into the space where you're sheltered. But 'adoption' doesn't
necessarily mean trying to shelter someone else. How did the Holy Spirit
adopt you? He "came alongside you, as the helper-meet" and He did not
take you out of the context in which you live. I don't believe that you and
I are required - except in rare cases - to take anyone out of the context in
which they are living but I DO believe that we are to live alongside them
as a part of God's transformation of their existence into life. Now, there
are worlds of people who volunteer as Big Brothers or Big Sisters, or as
church visitation volunteers. There are plenty of people who give of
themselves through wonderful organizations. The difference that I'm
trying to teach you here is that this 'claiming' of vulnerable persons
is to be our primary parenting focus!
This means several things (at least).
- Anyone, married or single, can 'adopt' and 'parent' in this way.
- Reproduction is unnecessary for those who wish to 'adopt' and parent in this way.
- Reproduction is of a low priority, period, for people who love God. There will ALWAYS be plenty of people to adopt, so long as we focus on the last, the lost and the least! (Deuteronomy 15:11, Matthew 28:11, Mark 14:7, John 12:8)
- This 'adoptive love' could mean a very different way of thinking for all of us who love God.
- When God adopted you through Christ Jesus, it was the end of the world as you have known it!
people everywhere see those of us who love God determined to make
sure that no one is left un-adopted? Isn't it just possible that witnessing
God's adoptive love could influence some other folks to want to follow
His example? "Yes but...." Will we get a lot of really bad cases dumped
on us? You bet. But just as God is transforming you and me (ourselves
being pretty bad cases), so also can He transform the existence of those
we adopt. We have to trust Him and we have to develop communities of
trust and reconciliation to support each other in our efforts to adopt.
You don't have the resources to go this alone... and neither do I.
So, then, we must develop relationships of reconciliation and
interdependence to be able to take care of each other.
It's our family. It's GOD'S family. More about communities of
reconciliation in a future posting!