Tuesday, May 10, 2016

We Are Immigrants

“They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.” “And where is he?” Reuel asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.” Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.””

Exodus 2:19-22 NIV

Jethro's daughters explain to Jethro that Moses rescued them from the wicked shepherds and then served them by watering their flock. But they didn't invite him home. Jethro makes it clear that Moses' actions were certainly a good excuse to show him hospitality and welcome him. So they did.

With nowhere else to go, Jethro invites Moses to stay and serve him and his clan. Moses takes him up on his invitation and eventually is given Zipporah in marriage. 

Moses names his first son Gershom which in Hebrew sounds like "A foreigner here." Moses recognizes he's out of place in Midian. 

What's interesting is that he probably felt that way in Egypt as well. He was a Hebrew, living in Pharaoh's favored Egyptian court, while his Hebrew kin were enslaved to that very court. He easily could have felt disoriented thinking about all of that. 

Moses could have been experiencing a hunger for something that didn't exist yet--but would. Israel becoming free--becoming a free nation under God. 

God would lead him to lead them deliver Israel. 

So Moses was a foreigner. He was an immigrant both in Egypt and then later in Midian. A refugee.  He was valuable to Jethro's clan. He brought a lot to their family.


This should move us to see immigrants and refugees in a better light. 

No one chooses to be a refugee or immigrant unless they are fleeing very difficult circumstances. It takes a lot to leave your family, culture, and all that is familiar, for a foreign culture with no real relationships. Desperation is a powerful motivation.

We must reach out to those in desperate need of a fresh start as they flee difficult circumstances. We must see past the fact that many far from Christ are a part of this group. Sure, our security is at risk. But so is theirs. Compassion calls us to consider more than ourselves.

God calls us to "Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God." (Micah 6:8) This is risky in one sense. But it's even riskier to not live and walk in step with the Holy Spirit who leads us to serve the least, last and lost with humility and love. 

At another level, we Christ-followers must also see ourselves as foreigners. We are not of this world. This is not our home. Yes, we were born here and have family here. Yes, we love and are very comfortable in our culture. Like a fish is comfortable in water, we are comfortable in our home country. Yet, we're only passing through. We're sojourners, travelers, journeymen, aliens and strangers in this world. And we must live like it. (See 1 & 2 Peter)


Lord, transform our thinking to be more in sync with yours. Help us remember that this is not our home. We're here for a season to love and serve the least, the last and the lost In Jesus' name--those where we live, work and play. 

Help us humble ourselves and generously give of ourselves to those who are far from God but close to us. Cleanse us from our selfishness and fill us with your generous Holy Spirit. Transform us from the inside out and help us lead others to do the same. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.