A young friend of mine, Caleb Bae, spent the summer in Germany serving, loving and ministering to Syrian and other middle-Eastern refugees. I was deeply moved as I read several of his posts (calebbae.blogspot.com) by the hardship many refugees face, God’s tremendous love and compassion for them, and Caleb’s bold, energetic faith that put him in impossible settings.
Below is an expert from one of his blogs:
One more story of someone I met: He is a man from Baghdad that I met at a picnic just yesterday. With a translator, I went to him and his family and introduced myself. I have no idea how it happened, but the next thing I know I'm going for a walk with him and the translator. Quite quickly he is asking me to tell him about my faith. I ask him what exactly he wants to know, and so I answer a few of his questions as we sit down on a grass hill. He then asks me to tell him what exactly I believe as a Christian. God seriously tossed this one in my lap. I laid out the Gospel to him, and talked about how what we believe comes down to Jesus' love for us, and we're just loving him back. He said to me, "I like your religion. What you believe is good. I want to be a Christian. I have to think though. We meet one more time and I make decision then." Um.. Okay, God. My mind was blown. This is a HUGE deal. As I said goodbye to him, I tried to thank him for listening to me, but he stopped me and almost tearfully thanked me for talking to him. If you would, please be praying for him.
What a great story. Please join me in praying for these refugees who are displaced and separated from loved ones while being deeply loved by God.
Caleb’s story got me thinking that my tendency is to view people as Christian or non-Christian rather than just people that God loves and died to be in relationship with. He is pursuing every person, everywhere.
Each person is in a different place on the relationship continuum with God. And our very do-able job as Christ’s ambassador is to partner with Him in what He is already doing in them. He has initiated a specific divine plan for their individual redemption. Our job could be as simple as genuinely caring for them, offering to help or maybe portraying a non-judgmental portrait of a Christian.
Too often I wonder if many Christians, myself included, try to do too much by thinking we need to share the Gospel in a manner that generates a sense of need in the person and then lead them to Christ. This great sense of responsibility sounds noble, but may stem from an incorrect assumption.
We tend to look at people and size them up: rich or poor, relevant or irrelevant, educated or uneducated, Christian or non-Christian. These unseen characteristics are determined by how we see them. We really don’t know these things about them, but we make determinations based on externals. Does the person look or act like a Christian or not?
In reality, we have no idea where people are at in the spiritual journey. And we would be wise and more Christ-like to assess less and engage more.
We can be certain of this, God is at work in their life, drawing them to himself.
John 3:16-17 from the Message:
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again."