Give Us More
Many people have strong opinions on the recently proposed changes to our nation’s immigration policies. In fact, we can’t even agree on how many of us agree with those changes!
For instance, a Rasmussen Reports survey1 finds that 57 percent of us favor a temporary ban on refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen until the federal government approves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here. However, a Quinnipiac University survey2 found that 51 percent reject the controversial 90-day freeze. They add, “voters are strongly opposed to holding back those most threatened, Syrian refugees.” I guess it depends on how you ask the question and who you ask.
While I agree that our country has the right to make policies that will protect our citizens, and while I would urge our leaders to remember the biblical injunction to care for the foreigner and the alien, I have a different question for us to consider. It comes from the parable of the talents. Jesus concluded that parable with these words, “For to everyone who has will more be given. . .But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Mt. 25:29)
So my question is this: What are we doing with the immigrants and refugees God has already sent our way? If your heart resonates with these words of Lady Liberty,
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
–then I would ask, have you lifted up your lamp to receive these who are already your neighbors, in the name of Christ? Let’s not ask for more until we’re reaching the ones already here.
A College Parker who works at a local public high school recently wrote me about what they have seen in their school, “The students that are currently enrolling represent the people groups that are now coming into all of Indianapolis. The largest people groups are Spanish-speaking (Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Venezuela), Arabic-speaking (Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq), Swahili-speaking (Rwanda, Congo, Tanzania, Uganda), Karen from Burma (via Thailand refugee camps), and Karenni/Kayah from Burma (via Thailand refugee camps).
Many of their initial physical needs are being met by the community. However, this provides us with such a great opportunity to meet their spiritual needs. God is bringing people from many nations and tongues to Midwest Indianapolis! Many have no connection to any church. How can we take advantage of the harvest that is coming to Indianapolis?”
The only way is for each of to do what Jesus said was the second most important commandment: to love our neighbors as ourselves. I’m pretty sure that if we thought very long about it each of us could find a refugee or an immigrant in our life circle—neighborhood, workplace, school, grocery. Have we even tried to connect with them and show them the love of Christ?
So take the plunge! It’s actually quite easy—and lots of fun. Refugees are often starved for friendship and someone who will show that they care. Just a little effort and a little love may open wide doors for the gospel. Those who came to our country for a better life may find a lot more—a relationship with God through Jesus that will give them abundant life now, and for all eternity.
God has brought so many here already. May He bring many more. But let’s not ask for more until we touch the ones already here.