“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
—John 13: 24-25, NIV
It’s a word that often provokes a strong response … causing arguments and stirring up feelings of hopelessness. The global refugee crisis is not a simple matter and discussing the ins and outs of the crisis makes many people uncomfortable. So uncomfortable that, today, many people don’t talk about it at all.
We are paralyzed by fear, paralyzed by overwhelming numbers. But ignoring the refugee crisis is the worst thing we can do. In fact, it is by loving those in need that we truly demonstrate our faith.
This is the time for us as the global church — and as individuals — to be the hands and feet of Jesus to refugees in need. We can help meet their urgent physical needs and hold them up in prayer.
Right now, more than 65 million people worldwide are considered refugees or displaced persons. That number continues to grow every day. But these refugees aren’t just leaving their homes for a fun trip … they are leaving because if they don’t, they could very well lose their lives.
During the past few years, thousands of refugees have made their way from war-torn South Sudan into northern Uganda. Most of these refugees are young children. They fled from the sounds of gunfire, but the refugee camps aren’t exactly safe, either. There isn’t enough food, enough water, or enough medical aid.
Our partners tell us that the refugees have begun to lose hope. They no longer believe the government will save them. They no longer believe organizations will come to their aid.
The only place they can confidently place their trust is in God and in His generous, compassionate followers. A refugee pastor in northern Uganda spoke about the impact a simple gift can have on a refugee:
“Life is not easy in the camps,” he says. “[But] people are really, really coming to Christ because of all [the donors] are doing. We can cry to God, which we love. It’s only Him who can make a way when it feels like there is no way. We believe He will do great things in our lives.”
When a refugee receives a shipment of emergency supplies, he is reminded that God loves him. He is reminded that no matter what, the global church is standing with him. This is the kind of hope you give when you support a refugee. And that is why we, as the body of Christ, must respond to the global refugee crisis by demonstrating Christ-like love.
Although there are refugees around the world, people are most familiar with the refugees pouring out of the Middle East. Thousands and thousands of men, women, and children have resettled in camps across the Middle East and into Europe.
Pastor Nikos is one man who has chosen to not run away from this crisis. He ministers in the refugee camps in Greece and most of the refugees there are from a Muslim background. However, since he’s begun working in the camps, the refugees have seen his love for them and they accept him — despite his Christian faith.
Pastor Nikos goes to the camps every day. He takes people to the doctor, the hospital, and the supermarket. He provides for their needs. Refugees come to his house for coffee and lunch. And he does all this in the name of Jesus.
“If they feel accepted, they will also stop looking at us as their enemies, and it will be easier for us to speak to them about the love of Jesus Christ,” he said.
As a church, we have been called to share the love of Jesus with everyone. We have been chosen to be His ambassadors here on earth — His hands and feet to the hungry, the lost, and the forgotten.
While we cannot all travel to a refugee camp in Greece or Syria or Uganda, we can do something. We can pray for refugees around the world. And we can give whatever we can to help meet their needs.
Isaiah 61 declares a calling that all believers share — one that Jesus himself would quote and claim as His mission in Luke 4:18:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1 NIV).
After Jesus shared these verses, He shocked those around Him by declaring that He was the fulfillment of this passage. He was the binder of the brokenhearted and the freer of the captives.
Today, He asks us to join Him in that mission.
As a follower of Jesus, you have an anointing and a calling. By giving just $35 you will provide the essentials that one refugee needs to survive. And because of generous corporate donations and grants, that $35 will multiply to provide $189 worth of lifesaving food, clean water, medical supplies, and more.
But most importantly, you will also share the love of Jesus with one of His precious children.
Give today and help change a refugee’s life. They are waiting … you can help be an answer to their prayers.