Many years ago, I posted on Facebook that I was a “one-issue voter.” I did so as a public declaration of my pro-life stance and that a candidate’s position on abortion was my only consideration in determining whether or not I would vote for them. In the years since that post, I have given much thought to what it means to be pro-life. Is being pro-life simply being anti-abortion, or does it mean more? Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying—yes, we must be anti-abortion and advocate for saving the lives of the unborn. It is that and more. One of the phrases I’ve heard used is that Christians ought to be pro-life from “womb to tomb.”

A Call to Care

Our reference point as we consider these issues starts with the giver of life in Genesis. God created man in his own image and pronounced him good. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27).  Throughout the Old Testament, we see that many of the laws given to God’s people concerned that of life, health, and wholeness. God gave laws that cared for widows and orphans (Exo. 22:22) and provided for the poor and one’s neighbors (Exo. 25:26). In Exodus 23, he even shows fatherly care for those outside the nation of Israel. Then Jesus steps on the scene in the New Testament. He shows his concern not for religious rules and compliance but for life and flourishing, healing those with diseases and resurrecting the dead. He shows compassion and mercy to those typically on the margins– a leper and a Roman centurion’s servant (Matt. 8), the demon-possessed (Luke 4:35), a woman with a disability that would keep her from the temple (Luke 8:43-48), and even a woman caught in adultery (John 8).

How can believers show their concern for life and flourishing as well? The church can be the hands and feet of Jesus, showing biblical love and care for the hurting in very practical and intentional ways. Consider these ideas:

The Church as the Hands and Feet of Christ

What happens once a woman decides not to have an abortion and to instead keep the baby? A powerful and effective way to help unwed mothers is to get involved with a crisis pregnancy center. We have a lady from our church who gives parenting classes at our local center. In attending these classes, the parents earn credits that they then get to spend at a lovely baby boutique to receive items for their child. Relationships are established and these parents hear the gospel and receive support. In this example, being truly pro-life means the life of the unborn baby is spared and the lives of the parents are enriched.

What about when the parents are unable to parent the child? How can the church show that they care for life then? The church should be the first ones to be involved in the work of foster care and adoption. We can bring the hope of Christ to a system that is often broken. The church can participate in this life affirming work in multiple ways. Families can be licensed to provide respite care for foster and adoptive parents. Churches might provide suitcases for those foster children who arrive in a home with all their earthly possessions in a garbage bag. We greatly appreciate it when our church friends provide meals when a child is placed in our home. Church members could also spend time with other children in the home while the new child is adjusting to a new family. In all these ways, the God-given dignity of these children is recognized and celebrated.

What are other ways that we can affirm the dignity of others beyond the early years? Our church also supports and volunteers with a ministry in the public schools where Jesus is proclaimed week in and week out through songs and stories. Rather than bemoaning the state of public education today (I can definitely see areas of concern) we can look for ways to partner with our neighborhood schools. Many students need reading help in early grades. Why not volunteer to read with students at your local school? This too is a way to live out the call to promote life—to be pro-life—as we meet needs while showing Jesus’s love to many who may never hear the good news of the gospel at home.

What about teens? God can use a loving adult pouring their lives into teens who are in a difficult season of change and growth. There is always a need for those who are willing to teach youth Sunday School classes and disciple small groups. What a concrete way to show teens that their lives matter when so much of culture is telling them the opposite.

What about those in our communities for whom English is their second language? Many of these people can be overlooked because communication is difficult. Can we be the ones to make the effort to show kindness to them by helping them learn English? Consider partnering with MNA in teaching English as a Second Language.

Challenge yourself to think outside of the box. You could coach a youth sports team, lead a theater group, or include people in the activities you already enjoy. Helping young moms, setting a plate at your dining table for singles, visiting those in the nursing home—all these examples are ways we can show that we value life at all ages and stages. In these small and big ways, we push back against a culture that says that Christians only care for life when it is convenient and comfortable for them.

There are so many needs and I know that it can be too much to consider. None of us are called to do everything, but what if we each did one thing? What has the Lord put on your heart to do to show Jesus’s love for those at any age or stage, to affirm that we are pro-life for all of life—from the womb to the tomb?

Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash

Shea Patrick

Shea Patrick is a former Alabama lawyer, who now works as a public school Reading Interventionist. She lives in Orangeburg, South Carolina. She and her pastor-husband currently have five children, including two adopted from foster care.  Shea served on the National Women’s team for the PCA as the Regional Advisor for the Mid-Atlantic. She loves her church, Trinity Presbyterian, and serves with the kids, music, missions, and women’s ministry. She was a contributor to “Hinged: Vitally Connected to Christ and His Church” (CDM, January 2020).