Can We Rest in a Refugee World? (Press Pause #2)
Recently I ran across a refugee-related post by Mark Galli (Christianity Today) woven through Psalm 37. The last few days I’ve been hanging out in that Psalm. It’s good counsel for our days. The psalmist David writes,
Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and (feed on) faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act (bring it to pass). He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still (rest) before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil…but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
We are in the midst of a teaching series on sabbath-rest at Calvary and in our lifegroup this week someone asked a great question, “How can I sabbath when I am so concerned about what is taking place regarding refugees?” I think this Psalm answers that question.
Don’t fret (worry, fear or be anxious) because of evildoers. Whether you think the evildoer is our government, a terrorist, a refugee or those who turn their backs on refugees, David’s call is the same. Don’t fret. But instead, trust in God and do good.
Trust in God and do good.
That’s not an either/or, it’s a both/and.
Trust in God and do good.
It’s not sufficient to say, “Oh God will take care of it” and then turn your head. Nor is it effective to say, “I’ll take care of it” as you fill your day with fretting. As I’ve been reading our Facebook posts and listening to conversations and reading as many sides of the news as I can find, what I find is that a lot of what we are thinking, feeling and saying is shaped more by fretting than trusting.
And yet according to David, fretting over time, tends toward evil. So instead, trust in God, delight in him, commit your way to him, rest in him. AND DO GOOD. I wonder if one of the evils, which fretting tends towards, is the lack of doing good?
So how do I apply this Psalm to my current life in these current situations? Here are some possibilities.
- Don’t jump to the worst possible conclusions with the least possible information. I’m not saying there aren’t worst possible conclusions, but if I trust in God I can certainly take my time in jumping to them.
- Don’t let emotion overcome you, especially anger. On the other hand, be quick to empathize with those who are personally impacted by these events. The easiest way to do both is to practice humility.
- Don’t hold the government responsible for things God calls the church to do. While my prayer is always that our government will operate by values that echo the heart of Christ…I am far more grieved when the church does not.
- Don’t forget that you are also a sojourner, no matter where you live in this world, you are a citizen of another Kingdom.
- Spend more time praying than posting. Seriously. Right now I wish there was an executive order for this. :)
- Do good for a refugee, an immigrant, or someone who is a sojourner in our community. Not someday. This week. Today. Posting on facebook doesn’t count, which means this post doesn’t count as my good.
One last thing…if you have read this far. At the end of December, Calvary took a 1% offering. We were challenged to give 1% of our income to serve people in need around the world. We gave $180,000…which is great…but we finished more than $70,000 from our goal. One of the projects that is to be funded by the 1% offering is the packing of 100,000 meals for Middle Eastern Refugees.
Until the end of February…every extra dollar that is given will go to that underfunded project. We need $25,000 total. Go to www.calvarysc.org/give and scroll down to “One-Time Giving.” Choose 1%. We hope to pack sometime in April.