Pure Religion

By Marilyn Schouten

Italics from: "Gems from Tozer," Selections from the writings of A.W. Tozer

"For a long time I have believed that truth, to be understood, must be lived; that Bible doctrine is wholly ineffective until it has been digested and assimilated by the total life. The essence of my belief its that there is a difference, a vast difference between fact and truth. Truth in the Scriptures is more than a fact. A fact may be detached, impersonal, cold and totally disassociated from life. Truth on the other hand, is warm, living and spiritual. A theological fact may be held in the mind for a lifetime without it's having any positive effect on the moral character; but truth is creative, saving, transforming, and it always changes the one who receives it into a humbler and holier man. At what point, then, does a theological fact become for the one that holds it a life-giving truth? At that point where obedience begins!"

James 1:27 says "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God our Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

And: Esther 4:14: For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"

Did you know that there are 42 verses in the Bible that deal with orphans and/or widows? I did not know such a statistic till I had the privilege to attend, with a friend this week, the cinematic showing of The Drop Box a documentary about a pastor in South Korea who built an actual "drop box" for unwanted newborns. This pastor lives in reality, James 1:27.

In Seoul, South Korea there is an epidemic of babies who are discarded because of teen births or birth defects and they are hidden or left in allies to die. This movie was sponsored by Focus on the Family and showed for 2 nights only at Easton Theater.  We had it on good authority that this was a "must see." I am impassioned to say that it was worth the trip and worth the money to see this film. 

Pastor Lee (you can google or visit Thedropbox.com for additional information) and his wife and such few helpers take into their "shack/home" children with severe disabilities and love on them, care for them...the unwanted and the ugly (according to society/culture) and do it with the utmost of humility and calling. There is too much to mention about the film and tears will live in your eyes and heart for the entire time that you watch "The Drop Box"...but here is where my heart will settle for this Monday Thoughts. 

"For a long time I have believed that truth, to be understood, must be lived; that Bible doctrine is wholly ineffective until it has been digested and assimilated by the total life." I feel certain that we all agree with that statement. The drop box is located on the wall of Pastor Lee's church/residence and in the box (big enough for only a newborn) is a little heat lamp with a light bulb and a smoke detector. When some anonymous mother decides that she does not want her baby, instead of throwing it away, she is able to open the outside of the drop box, put the newborn inside and close the door. Immediately a door bell sounds that notifies Pastor Lee that indeed a child has been delivered. He runs to the box, opens it up from the inside and immediately brings the child into the warm and before he unwraps this gift from God, he prays and thanks the Lord that HE indeed spared yet another life and has given this child the opportunity to grow up and be amazing for the Lord. At times he has unwrapped babies that are only hours old, uncleaned and still have an umbilical chord that he has to cut.....at times he unwraps babies that are severely deformed or have disease or are considered to have Downs Syndrome. He prays the prayer before he has any knowledge of the child inside the  "swaddling clothes."  "Truth in the Scriptures is more than a fact. A fact may be detached, impersonal, cold and totally disassociated from life. Truth on the other hand, is warm, living and spiritual." This pastor believes that he has been called of God to provide an alternative to death for these babies and though controversy surrounds this drop box, has saved over 300 babies in 1 year. Personally, Pastor Lee and his wife have a completely disabled son of 26 years that has only ever been on his back. They care for him, love on him and he smiles for them....It is around the clock care for his natural son, as well as the other 15 disabled children that they have now adopted.  The film is to encourage the church to form a relationship with the adoption community and provide homes for the 100,000 children in the US. It is a most excellent film, and at some point, I hope we can show it at VGF.

So how do the two previous verses coincide with my thoughts of late?  It was hard leaving the film for surely I am not, nor do I feel called to be a part of such sacrificial living as Pastor Lee. I do with all my heart believe that "life-giving truth begins with obedience," and for each of us, we are called into different service, timing, places and realms for ministry.....as with Esther we are each able to say with confidence...."we have been called for such a time as this." But I was feeling a little on the defeated side the next morning. I prayed for Pastor Lee and his failing health and his no-sleep pattern of life....for I too am sleepless in Newark many a night, but not with such stress level attached. I knew in my head that I was called for a particular purpose and plan and I know in my heart most of the time....what that plan entails. But still I was saddened that the gracious, precious life I had been given was insufficient in retrospect to SERVICE. I no sooner got done feeling a bit unsatisfied when on my e-mail came the most amazing encouragement from a fellow VGF servant that I never cross paths with, telling me that it has taken 6 years of courage to gather together a note of thanks for the work that I do with and for VGF. It was a most tremendous note of encouragement yes, but a literal rehearsal of many of the tasks that I actually do. Some tasks that seemingly go unnoticed by the general population. It was a sincere blessing to my heart and one that reiterated.....my purpose and place for such a time as this! It was an encouragement to that person as I quickly wrote back my thought quandary that very morning....that they were used for such a time as this....in my life. 

Pure and undefiled religion....to visit the orphans and widows (which many of us can do with hardly any conflict in our daily life)....and to understand that in this time, for right now, for these purposes....we are each made for a plan. I repented and reconnected my heart to my head and trust that this week brings about a new sense of life-giving truth....starting with obedience. As you live your life, walk in the "proddings" of the Holy Spirit...for you may be the person for someone else...."for such a time as this!"