Friends of mine have worked tirelessly to prepare for and make welcome a refugee family from a war torn country. I am inspired by their love and kindness as they embrace this beautiful family.
It got me thinking how similar this family’s situation is to some one who is brought into the kingdom of God.
Although granted residency, we knew they may not be familiar with much of anything “Canadian” and sure enough, with grace and patience, my friends have spent days showing them how to use money, shop for groceries, and many other things that were new for our family.
When a person comes into the kingdom of God, they look no different, but are suddenly given a brand new citizenship with new rights, privileges and benefits and hopefully, welcomed open armed by a brand new culture.
New citizens of Heaven must be shown how to think and live in a whole new way. Heaven culture lives from Love, not fear. Living in the power and authority of Jesus to overcome darkness is completely foreign to a new citizen. Things of the Kingdom of Heaven are opposite the kingdom of this world.
What if we view people who are not yet citizens of Heaven as refugees waiting to be invited? What if we treat new believers as my friends have our new family? We don’t expect them to know our culture, but we are willing to take them by the hand, and in love, show them how to live like a citizen of the Kingdom.
Many hours have been lovingly invested in making our family feel at home and giving them the tools and knowledge they will need to thrive. Why would it be different with a new citizen of Heaven?
Many Canadians have no grid for people suffering from war, famine, poverty and oppression. Fearful, many would rather stay in comfortable circles rather than reaching out to those living in pain and suffering.
Until we have our hearts broken over the pain and suffering of those outside the Kingdom, what will motivate us to invite them in? What will inspire us to invest our time, love and resources to help them adjust?
Countless hours went into preparing a home for our family. Many people were praying for them months before they arrived, and much preparation and thought went into their welcome. We did not know what their response would be or if they would welcome a relationship with us in return, but the work went on regardless.
I wonder if every citizen of Heaven invested this kind of love and effort into bringing one person to citizenship in the Kingdom of God what our communities and churches would look like? And in the welcoming, we too learn, grow, and are deeply enriched!