Pure Religion

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

— James 1:27 

She was born without hands, and yet she won a penmanship award! Her name is Annie Clark and several years ago she won the award and $1000 from Zaner-Bloser, a company that publishes language arts and reading textbooks. How can Annie write without hands? She manipulates a pencil between her forearms.

But that may not be the most impressive part of her story. Annie is one of nine children—one of six adopted by Tom and Mary Ellen Clark. Four of their children have disabilities that have to do with their hands or arms, and two of their children have Down syndrome.

When asked about her unique family, Mary Ellen Clark simply says, “This is the family God wanted for us.” The Clarks have certainly taken to heart the admonition in James to care for orphans.

Few of us can do what the Clarks have done, but there are many other ways to help children in need. Many churches support ministries that care for orphans, abandoned children, foster kids or children at risk. Family Life Radio partners with Compassion to see children in poverty sponsored. Volunteering at a local school, library or children’s hospital is another way to care for those in need.

Jesus said that when we care for “the least of these,” we’re caring for Him. By caring for children in need, we’re a reflection of God’s love for us, and we serve as His hands and feet. This is truly part of pure religion.

Today’s One Thing

Consider how you can help an orphan or widow in need. Perhaps your church has a program that you can get involved in, or pray about sponsoring a child on the other side of the world.

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