Turning A Challenge Into An Opportunity For Christ

November 27, 2015
by Karen Abbott

The Prime Minister of Canada has volunteered to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees into our nation before the end of February. This has raised many fears and concerns amongst the general population. Many may not know that in the last fifteen years, immigration to Canada has ranged between 221,352 and 262,236 people each year. Nearly 14 million immigrants entered the United States from 2000 to 2010. While some complain that it is too many, we have managed, and it's a great humanitarian effort, as many of those immigrants are refugees from the direst and most dangerous situations. Here, they are given the opportunity to thrive.

The reason that the western world is so magnanimous towards developing countries is that the west was originally built on Christian values and beliefs, and humanity towards others is one of those tenets. Christ taught us to love one another and care for one another. The early Christians did just that. So must we.

Acts 2:44-47 – All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (NIV 2011)

Unfortunately, the Christian church in the western world is in decline today and has lost most of the respect that it used to be given by governments and schools — the respect that enabled Christians to influence government. In fact, today, God is scarcely heard of in public places, out of consideration for other religions and belief systems, many of them brought here from foreign lands. As a result, it's not surprising that new arrivals see a void where spirituality should be in our society. Particularly, followers of Islam see this obvious moral decline, and insist upon their spiritual requirements being met. Their religious observances are given the respect by government authorities that Christian ones used to be given.

Christians who have lost their sense of mission need to be reminded that the overseas mission field has now come to our doorstep.

Matthew 9:36-38 – When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (NIV 2011)

Certainly, it would please God if our churches took this opportunity and accepted this new challenge by aggressively interacting with these refugees and integrating ourselves amongst them by giving them aid and acceptance, and showing them what Christian love should mean. Christian bookstores have materials to help Christians understand Islam and witness to Muslims. If Christians were obedient to God's will and spoke of salvation to these immigrants as Jesus asked us to pray for, might not the Lord add to our numbers daily?

Prayer: God of all creation, we ask You to embolden us to use this opportunity to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all immigrants, and in our obedience to You, may Your church be strengthened and renewed. Amen.

About the author:

Karen Abbott
Renfrew, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    May it be so Karen. Merry Christmas.


    Praying for those who are truly refugees and for diligence in vetting them. Blessings.


    Truly well said.
    Thank you for this clear perspective.


    Amen!! I send my gratitude for this meaningful devotional today.
    Blessings.


    Excellent and timely devotion today Karen. Thanks so much. And may God continue to bless you as you write to inspire your readers.


    Thanks for a good devotion, Karen. Like you I am worried about the future of the Christian Church.
    This year I have signs – Keep Christ in Christmas – to give to friends etc.


    Dear Karen Abbott,
    So needed and so well written.
    May all of us Christians in North America unite in prayer and in doing what God wills us to do in loving and praying and acting in the will of God and in showing his way to and with these newcomers.
    May God bless us all.


    While I agree in principle with your Christian outlook, I cannot condemn the reluctance of the average Canadian to willy-nilly throw our doors wide open to Syrian refugees. Nearly all terrorism in the world today can be associated with one violent Muslim or pseudo-Muslim faction or another. Most Syrians are Muslims. While my Christian faith tells me to be loving and unquestionably accepting, does this give me the right to over-ride the legitimate fears of my fellow Canadians? I think not. Be loving and accepting, yes, but be also cautious and not over-hasty. It only takes one bad apple who has evaded careless vetting to do fearful damage. I have no right to advocate security shortcuts.


    Dear Karen, I think it is time Canadians remembered that we are a nation of immigrants. Right from the beginning. Even our First Nations people came from somewhere else. I’m the grandson of immigrants on both sides of my family. My maternal grandparents came from the Ukraine before WWW1. My paternal grandparents were from England and Ireland. They also came out before WW1. Both came because this was perceived as a land of opportunity and freedom, especially freedom to worship.
    To carry my own story a little further I have Russian Orthodox, Anglican and Catholic beliefs in my background and I have chosen to become a Presbyterian. And I am very proud of my immigrant heritage. I do regret that as a nation our Christian beliefs have been allowed to erode to the point where we have lost our way. In an attempt to welcome everyone, we have watered down our own faith. People should continue to be welcomed here, but equally. No group should have more protection than any other.

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