Yesterday, Kim and I launched another week of training for Royal Family Kids Camp (RFKC). This week, we are training new directors from five churches and five different states. We really enjoy this time of inspiration, education and revelation. We get to spend a week with amazing people that are following the heart of God to serve the fatherless. We also get to jump back into the RFKC day-to-day operations as we host the training in coordination with a local RFKC of Madison, Alabama.
On Monday, we joined the RFKC Madison team in a devotional. I was struck by the message shared by the pastor of a local church in Florence, Alabama. As we sat in a wooded amphitheater anticipating the arrival of children with backgrounds of hurt, abuse, neglect and shame, the pastor shared from one of my favorite verses, James 1:27. As He shared, my ears picked up an unfamiliar nugget of truth.
Today, I want to turn our attention to the nugget I will call the “and” principle. Throughout scripture we find the “and” principle coming into view as God repeatedly instructs with “and” as a connector. Often, it is do this “and” that. Through the two scriptures below we can see that God is interested in our service “and” the manner in which we serve. God is interested in not just what we do but why we do it and how it is done!
God is the source and substance of all service
Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it …
~ Psalm 127:1 ~
27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
~ James 1:27 ~
Doing God’s work in God’s way
I have preached James 1:27 endless times around the world. It is an easy launch pad for the things close to my heart as the scripture is a call to the church to serve the fatherless. The nugget that I have often neglected is the “and” message that follows the great call to serve.
God desires for the church to serve the orphan but He desires for it to happen in a certain way … His way. Prior to our devotion, I had posted a picture with the simple phrase, “God’s Work, God’s Way!” Looking back, that post was the summation of the thoughts I am now sharing. The “and” principle is not that we just serve but that we serve “and” do it in God’s way.
In any service we do we are to do it to the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24
). And, we are to recognize that unless it is done in the Lord then it is done in vain. Sure, we all have talents, abilities and gifts but these are not enough. No, we must realize and acknowledge that it is only in God’s service and power that anything of eternal worth is created. Thus, no matter what we do we are to do it in God’s way.
Service to God, and for God, must always look like God. Just as the second part of James 1:27 states, we are to keep ourselves undefiled as we serve. The Greek word translated to undefiled is “amiantos” which means “free from that by which the nature of a thing is deformed and debased, or its force and vigour impaired“. So, the paraphrase could easily sound like this: True religion is to serve widows and orphans “and” serve in a way that does not impair or deform your service.
About Royal Family Kids Camp
Royal Family KIDS, Inc. is a network of camps, children’s clubs, and child mentoring for abused children in the foster care, system. RFK founded in 1985 by Wayne and Diane Tesch.