James 1:27 tells us that “pure and undefiled religion” involves visiting orphans and widows. There are probably multiple reasons why God commands such actions, but modern research points how important such service is to those who need it. Recent research from the University of Glasgow in Scotland highlights how, among over 400,000 study participants, those who did not receive regular visits from friends or family were at a 77 percent greater risk of death compared to those who did receive regular visits (The Guardian, November 10, 2023).
Scientists used a massive UK-wide database of 458,146 people who had been followed for an average of 12.6 years and “found that each form of social isolation, such as living alone, often feeling lonely, or infrequent visits from friends or family, was linked to a higher risk of dying.” Researchers point out that even a monthly visit has the potential to reduce overall risk of death.
The Bible outlines God’s way of life. That way of life is about serving and watching out for others, and it opposes the modern societal norms of focusing on ourselves. The Apostle Paul taught that we are to take advantage of opportunities to assemble together and to “stir up” each other “to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24–25). The more we look out for and make the time to visit others, the more they will benefit, and the more we will benefit, too. It is truly “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). For more on this powerful biblical principle, be sure to read or listen to “Are You Using Your Gifts?”