Welfare Ministry


Chapter 26—Help and Encouragement for Widows

The Claims of Widows and Orphans—Among all whose needs demand our interest, the widow and the fatherless have the strongest claims upon our tender sympathy and care. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” WM 214.1

The father who has died in the faith, resting upon the eternal promise of God, left his loved ones in full trust that the Lord would care for them. And how does the Lord provide for these bereaved ones? He does not work a miracle in sending manna from heaven; He does not send ravens to bring them food; but He works a miracle upon human hearts. He expels selfishness from the soul; He unseals the fountain of benevolence. He tests the love of His professed followers by committing to their tender mercies the afflicted and bereaved ones, the poor and the orphan. These are in a special sense the little ones whom Christ looks upon, whom it is an offense to Him to neglect. Those who do neglect them are neglecting Christ in the person of His afflicted ones. Every kind act done to them in the name of Jesus is accepted by Him as if done to Himself, for He identifies His interest with that of suffering humanity, and He has entrusted to His church the grand work of ministering to Jesus by helping and blessing the needy and suffering. On all who shall minister to them with willing hearts the blessing of the Lord will rest.—The Review and Herald, June 27, 1893. WM 214.2

Give Tangible Help; Lighten Widow's Burdens—Many a widowed mother with her fatherless children is bravely striving to bear her double burden, often toiling far beyond her strength in order to keep her little ones with her and to provide for their needs. Little time has she for their training and instruction, little opportunity to surround them with influences that would brighten their lives. She needs encouragement, sympathy, and tangible help. WM 215.1

God calls upon us to supply to these children, so far as we can, the want of a father's care. Instead of standing aloof, complaining of their faults, and of the trouble they may cause, help them in every way possible. Seek to aid the careworn mother. Lighten her burdens.—The Ministry of Healing, 203. WM 215.2

To Be Channels of God's Bounties—In homes supplied with life's comforts, in bins and granaries filled with the yield of abundant harvests, in warehouses stocked with the products of the loom, and vaults stored with gold and silver, God has supplied means for the sustenance of these needy ones. He calls upon us to be channels of His bounty.—The Ministry of Healing, 202. WM 215.3

Help for the Widow Entrusted to the Prosperous—The poor, the homeless, and the widows are among us. I heard a wealthy farmer describe the situation of a poor widow among them. He lamented her straitened circumstances, and then said: “I don't know how she is going to get along this cold winter. She has close times now.” Such have forgotten the Pattern, and by their acts say: “Nay, Lord, we cannot drink of the cup of self-denial, humiliation, and sacrifice which You drank of, nor be baptized with the suffering which You were baptized with. We cannot live to do others good. It is our business to take care of ourselves.” WM 215.4

Who should know how the widow should get along unless it be those who have well-filled granaries? The means for her to get along are at hand. And dare those whom God has made His stewards, to whom He has entrusted means, withhold from the needy disciples of Christ? If so, they withhold from Jesus. Do you expect the Lord to rain down grain from heaven to supply the needy? Has He not rather placed it in your hands, to help and bless them through you? Has He not made you His instrument in this good work to prove you and to give you the privilege of laying up a treasure in heaven?—Testimonies for the Church 2:32, 33. WM 216.1

Brethren, for Christ's sake fill up your lives with good works.... All you have belongs to God. Be guarded, lest you selfishly hoard the bounties He has given you for the widow and the fatherless.—Testimonies for the Church 4:627. WM 216.2

Christians Possess an Abundance for the Needy—Christians are not excusable for permitting the widow's cries and the orphan's prayers to ascend to Heaven because of their suffering want while a liberal Providence has placed in the hands of these Christians abundance to supply their need. Let not the cries of the widow and fatherless call down the vengeance of Heaven upon us as a people. In the professed Christian world there is enough expended in extravagant display, for jewels and ornaments, to supply the wants of all the hungry and clothe the naked in our towns and cities; and yet these professed followers of the meek and lowly Jesus need not deprive themselves of suitable food or comfortable clothing. What will these church members say when confronted in the day of God by the worthy poor, the afflicted, the widows and fatherless, who have known pinching want for the meager necessities of life, while there was expended by these professed followers of Christ, for superfluous clothing and needless ornaments expressly forbidden in the Word of God, enough to supply all their wants?—The Review and Herald, November 21, 1878. WM 216.3

Neglect Not Those Close By—With every gift and offering there should be a suitable object before the giver, not to uphold any in idleness, not to be seen of men or to get a great name, but to glorify God by advancing His cause. Some make large donations to the cause of God while their brother who is poor may be suffering close by them, and they do nothing to relieve him. Little acts of kindness performed for their brother in a secret manner would bind their hearts together and would be noticed in heaven. I saw that in their prices and wages the rich should make a difference in favor of the afflicted and widows and the worthy poor among them.—Testimonies for the Church 1:194. WM 217.1

God Hears Widow's Prayer—The laws given to Israel guard especially the interests of those who need help. “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto Me, I will surely hear their cry; and My wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.” WM 217.2

Let those in our churches and those who stand in position of responsibility in our institutions learn from these words how carefully the Lord guards the interests of those who cannot help themselves. He hears the cry of the widow for her fatherless children. He will surely bring into judgment those who disregard the rules that He has laid down to shield them from harm. WM 217.3

And yet, in spite of the warnings that God has given, there are those who are not afraid to do injustice to the widow and the fatherless. The word of the Lord has come to them, but they would not change their course in order to help the needy. They turned their ears away from the plea of the fatherless. The tears and prayers of the widow were nothing to them.—Manuscript 117, 1903. WM 218.1

Visiting the Widow—Visiting the widow and the fatherless which the apostle enjoined is to have a Christian, sanctified sympathy with them in their affliction. They are to sacredly guard their interests, to work for them, to put themselves to inconvenience to do them a favor. They are to give them Christlike counsel; they are to unite with them in prayer and to ever bear in mind that Jesus Christ is present in all these visits, and that a faithful record is kept of the object and the work accomplished. Christians will give evidence that they are converted men and women. They will show that they are Bible readers, Bible believers, and they obey every injunction of the Word of God. They will not seek to create sympathy for themselves by speaking in disfavor of wife or husband. They will not become self-centered, but they will have a heart to do others good and to be a blessing to humanity, for this is Christlike. They will walk circumspectly and reveal the character of Christ. They will in all their dealings with widows and the fatherless do just as they would wish others to do by wife and children were they to leave them husbandless and fatherless. WM 218.2

The facts should be borne in mind by all who claim to be children of God, that there is a Watcher in every business transaction who records every act and deed of the transactor and that this record will stand just as it is written until the great day when every man shall receive according as his works have been, unless their wrongs shall have been repented of and blotted out. Any injustice done to saint or sinner will then be rewarded accordingly. Christ identifies His interest in all the afflictions of his people. God will avenge those who shall treat the widow or the fatherless with oppression, or who shall rob them in any way.—Letter 36, 1888. WM 218.3

No Decrease in Responsibility—Every poor, tried soul needs light, needs tender, sympathizing, hopeful words. Every widow needs the comfort of helpful and encouraging words that others can bestow.... WM 219.1

There is a great work to be done in our world, and as we approach the close of earth's history, it does not lessen the least degree; but when the perfect love of God is in the heart, wonderful things will be done. Christ will be in the heart of the believer as a well of water springing up into everlasting life.—The Review and Herald, January 15, 1895. WM 219.2