Next week is Thanksgiving. You know, the holiday where we thank the Native Americans for letting us be refugees in their country.
And because we are currently facing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, I thought it wise to put a Biblical perspective on the whole thing.
How are we to respond, as Christians, to the refugee crisis, especially when it’s coming to our country, our city, and our neighborhoods?
My major concern is that we’re in danger of forgetting who we are, whom we belong to, and how we are to act. The refugee crisis is uncovering a Christian identity crisis.
And yes, I know, some of you won’t agree with what I say in this post, but that’s OK. We’ll still be friends because sometimes friends disagree. Plus, we’re stuck together for the rest of eternity anyway, so we gotta stay friends, right?
First, a little Bible history about refugees
- Adam and Eve were refugees when deported from the garden.
- Abraham was an immigrant.
- Jacob and his large family became refugees in a foreign land, Egypt, where they would be discriminated against and people wouldn’t like them.
- Jesus was a refugee when Joseph took Him and Mary to Egypt.
- Paul was definitely a refugee for most of his ministry.
In fact, a lot of our Bible heroes were refugees!
Maybe that’s why the Scriptures calls us to offer hospitality to aliens (and God wasn’t talking about little green men here).
It’s the second most prevalent command in the Old Testament—welcome the stranger (see Exodus 22:21 and Leviticus 19:33,34)
Why? Because we’re all strangers, welcomed into God’s kingdom.
Now a little U.S. history
Probably more experienced than Europe in handling immigrants and refugees, the United States is a nation of refugees and immigrants. We’re not one culture. We’re multicultural. It works. That’s who we are—Americans.
Unless you are a Native American or arrived via slave or sex trafficking, you are here because you, or your ancestors, immigrated or arrived as refugees.
Plus, you brought evil stuff with you.
Italians brought the mafia, South Americans brought the cartels and drug wars, Cubans and Mexican’s brought their gangs, and the Asians brought sex trafficking and more drugs.
And all immigrants and refugees brought the evil of a sin nature.
They still do. Even with our vetting and entrance requirements for refugees wanting to live here, there’s still the sin nature that’s a real problem. And we all have it.
Refugees: opportunity or doom?
Do you remember most of the names of the twelve spies Moses sent out on a scouting mission to check out the Promised Land (see Numbers 13 & 14)?
You probably only remember two… Joshua and Caleb. These were the two who took the discouraging information collected and mixed it with faith. They saw destiny and opportunity ahead.
The other ten are names you don’t remember, because they left a terrible legacy. They had the very same information as Joshua and Caleb, but they mixed it with fear. All they saw was a giant threat.
The refugee crisis is like that. It’s handled one way by politicians, another way by Christians.
Politicians mix the facts of the refugee crisis with fear, because ISIS is scary.
Christians have the same information as the politicians, but we mix it with faith and see opportunity and destiny for God’s kingdom.
As believers, we minister to people, and refugees are people. They are our mission, and they are coming to us! We don’t have to go to them.
And yes, there are bad ISIS guys mixed in with these refugees. Just like the data that the ten spies focused on… giants, so to speak.
But we’re not part of the ten. We’re part of the two… Joshua and Caleb. We mix the scary information we know about ISIS with faith.
God loves the world so much that in these end times, before He returns, He brings people, called refugees, to us! He’s counting on us to be His love with skin on to these Muslim people.
I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest (John 4:35 NIV).
I recently heard Dr. Ted Vail, Associate Director of Foursquare Missions International say this,
One of the greatest evangelism tools right now is ISIS. Because modern Muslims are going, “Wait a minute, we believe that?
When people, even Muslims, are in trauma and need, Christ followers need to act like Christ… to be the helping hand, to pray with the hurting, to offer food and shelter.
How else will they hear the good news? That there is a God who, rather than killing, died for them. Rather than hating, loves them. And rather than turning them away, embraces them.
They need God’s love, not rejection.
Love is the one common thread in every testimony that a former Muslim will talk about when sharing his conversion to Christ.
And yes. People will die. That is the risk. That is the cost.
But as a Christian, you’ve already counted the cost, right? You’re ready to lay down your life for others, right?
Are you ready to endanger your family? I’m not saying you should. But no missionary family is really protected are they?
Just remember—most Muslims aren’t ISIS. They are fleeing ISIS. They aren’t our enemy. They are our mission.
What will your legacy tell? Will you be counted with Joshua and Caleb? Or will your name be listed with those names none of us can remember?
Thanks for reading my rant,