The picture above is not a picture I will soon forget. Let's face it. It's troubling to look at. His name is Alan Kurdi. He was 3 years old when his little body washed ashore in Turkey. His family was fleeing the war in Syria so they could have a life that you and I equally desire. Yet, in the process of fleeing, little Alan drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.
I keep his picture visible on my desktop because he reminds me of the millions of displaced souls around the world who are fleeing or attempting to flee their homelands due to extreme difficulties. They desire to get to a safer land where they can live a proper life. For reasons only God can explain, my family and I are not one of the millions of displaced peoples around the world.
God formed each of us in our mother's womb. We had no say in this process nor did God ask us our opinion. God could have just as easily formed and designed you and me in the womb of a mother in North Korea, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia or another country where religious oppression abounds, but He did not. God could have designed us to be born in a refugee camp or in the slums of India facing horrific challenges, but He did not. Instead, my family and I were born in the United States because, and only because, God designed it. We were not born where we are because we are superior to those born elsewhere or because we deserve it more than they do.
As I think about little Alan and the millions like him, I am reminded that it is important to remember that God is the potter and I am simply the clay. Knowing that I had zero control over where I was born humbles me. Understanding what God has given me is, by itself, enough to move me into action to help those in dire circumstances. Jesus said, as recorded in Luke 12:48, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required…”.
For those of us who have been given a lot, a lot is expected, and that is biblical. Whether we are in the USA, China or Pakistan, if God has given us the ability to help (individually and collectively as local churches), we should be helping displaced peoples, not as charity cases but as those created in the image of God, just like you and me. We need to ensure they get to safer places where they can eat, feed their family and find new work to support themselves. Even more than this, we need to ensure that those who are apart from Christ gain access to the Gospel. For those in Christ, we need to ensure they gain fellowship with believers in their new city, country and community.
We must not simply talk about them or their plight on Social Media. We must not claim to care for them then ignore the abundantly available opportunities to assist them. We must not expect the United Nations or our governments to meet their needs, even though I am glad the UN and my country is helping. Instead, we as the body of Christ, must take responsibility and do what God designed us to do. We must love our neighbors (displaced peoples included), we must love our enemies (those from lands we may deem our enemy) and we must give our lives to serving in God’s Kingdom, which includes inconveniencing ourselves for the sake of advancing and representing God’s Kingdom among displaced peoples.
The question I always like to leave you with, “Is Jesus Worth It?”. Is Jesus worth serving the global displaced population? Is Jesus worth becoming inconvenienced so others can enjoy what you and I enjoy simply because of where God designed us to be born and live?
Is Jesus Worth It?
Steve Schirmer, President of Silk Road Catalyst and co-Host of Missions Talk. Least Reached Advocate. Dedicated to No Place Left.