What does a transformed life look like? Is it a person who has perfect church attendance or has most of the bible memorized? While those are good things, they aren’t the only things that reveal a transformed life. Our “religious” work—going to church, reading the bible, and sharing the gospel—cannot be separated from caring for those around us.

James, Jesus’ half-brother and a leader in the early church, gives us insight into what this means. He writes,

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Throughout scripture, God reveals his heart and desire to care for those in distress and whom society doesn’t seem to care for. Orphans and widows had no resources and no one to care for them in James’ world. Often overlooked and unable to provide for themselves, the orphans and widows were always at the mercy of others. As a church, these often overlooked individuals matter to us because they matter to God.


So, who are the distressed and needy around us today? Who has been overlooked and needs our service? They’re all around us if we choose to see them. It’s the single mom who’s struggling to work full-time and afford daycare. Some groceries or a box of diapers could bring her to tears. It’s the senior citizen who is going to endure another frozen dinner alone under the glare of the television screen. An invitation out to lunch or over for dinner with your family would meet more than one kind of hunger in her. It’s the homeless youth who aged out of the foster care system and has no one to care for or mentor him. Becoming a friend to him could change the trajectory of his life.


Even once we see the need, you might remember your own to-do lists and feel exhausted before even starting, but God isn’t trying to add more to our to-do list. He wants to reprioritize it. The gospel reminds us that when we were in need, Jesus came as a servant. From this place of gratitude, we can live, give, and serve from a place of abundance.

At the Life Center, we get the privilege of being the hands and feet of Jesus by giving to those in need. We feed the hungry, house the homeless, and love the lonely. We care for each person who comes to us in distress and we seek to show them the love of Jesus. We can share our homes, hearts, and lives with those in need because of all we have received through Jesus. Through simple acts, we can show those who are overlooked that they matter to God and they matter to us.