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Why National Foster Care Month is our call to biblical hospitality


“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7 and Deuteronomy 5:11). 

If you were raised in Western culture like I was, you were likely taught this verse related to language — more specifically, bad language. 

But if you examine the scripture more closely, it’s more like a conversation you might have with your father as a teen before going out on Saturday night. “Keith,” my dad would say to me, “remember whose last name you have.” He was reminding me that my behavior would reflect on him and my family, for better or worse. 

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As followers of Jesus, it seems that in this third commandment of our Heavenly Father, He is having a similar conversation with us. If you take my name, He seems to be saying, live a life that reflects it.

Our privilege as Christians is in discerning how to do this.  This May during National Foster Care Month — and, of course, the rest of the year — one way we can tangibly live out this calling is by showing biblical hospitality to vulnerable children and families. We can meet them right where they are and show them the love and grace of Jesus. 

This biblical hospitality is a deep conviction of mine and my family’s. It is our privilege to welcome others into our homes and treat them as if they belong — because in the kingdom economy, they do. 

My wife and I have made this a theme of our life. We always have a room available, not just for our adopted or foster children, but for all the people we have met over the years. My wife often says, “There are no strangers, just people I haven’t met yet.” We have been blessed beyond measure throughout our marriage by the people who have shared our home with us.

To some, “biblical hospitality” might seem like a bit of a fancy term for keeping a spare room. Quite the opposite. I’ve come to see that biblical hospitality is a fruit of the spirit, expressed in the humble and human act of hosting others. 

When Paul writes about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, he describes this singular fruit as containing love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

What traits would better make a truly gracious and welcoming host than these? 

At Bethany Christian Services, the ministry I’m privileged to lead, we believe every child deserves to be safe, loved, and connected — in families. God designed us to be in families. In families, we are known and loved and given the tools we need to grow and thrive. 

The world today has many challenges that seem overwhelming and, in our minds, impossible to solve. But this one is not. We can ensure every child across our nation has a family in which to flourish.

In the United States, over 360,000 children are in the foster care system. More than 100,000 of those children are available for adoption. Our first goal, whenever safe, should naturally be to keep families together and children out of the foster system. 

But when this isn’t possible, we must meet families in crisis where they are and keep the safety and well-being of children as our top priority. It’s hard work. It’s slow work. But most importantly, it is work that requires all of us.

We know not everyone can be a foster or adoptive parent. Still, there are many practical ways each of us can find to step into the gap to support these parents and families. We can prepare meals, offer to help with errands or caretaking, or even simply offer our presence. 

Biblical hospitality, it turns out, is much more — and sometimes much less — than having a spare room in your home. It is a gift of self, a fruit of the Spirit, and can take countless different forms.

But whatever form it takes, it is as much a blessing to the minister as it is to those receiving ministry. Biblical hospitality is a chance to step boldly and joyfully forward into the many opportunities for service that God offers us every day.

While many followers of Jesus have a favorite verse, my wife and I have a favorite phrase: “That we may.”

This phrase is found over and over throughout Scripture. It forms the lens we use to view the things God places in our path and helps us see opportunity versus obligation.  As believers, we are overcome by the privilege God has given us to step into the lives of children and families across our nation. 

Serving these children and families is a prize, not a problem. Ministering to foster children is not something that we “must” or “should” do, but instead, that we may!

Keith Cureton serves as president and CEO of Bethany Christian Services.

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