Guest blog by: Andrew Means Refuge. It’s an interesting word. Defined as 1) a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger or trouble and 2) Something providing such shelter; refuge is something we all long for. We all want safety, security, and peace. Yet many immigrants, documented and not, come to America seeking refuge yet all they find is pursuit, danger and trouble. As Christians this is particularly troubling. We are called to be People of Refuge. In the Old Testament God created Cities of Refuge (see Joshua 20 for one example). A person who had allegedly committed a crime or killed someone accidentally could flee to these Cities of Refuge to be protected from those seeking to kill or harm them in revenge. While this might seem like an anachronistic tradition today, it had huge implications in its day. In effect, Cities of Refuge said, “There is a place where you are safe, free from pursuit, and allowed to prosper.” These Cities of Refuge reflected the heart of the greater God of Refuge who commanded them. Scripture speaks again and again about God’s role as provider of refuge. Psalm 9:9 says, “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Isaiah 25:4 says, “You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” As His followers we must reflect this characteristic of God in our lives and in our world. We must offer refuge to those who seek it and protection to those who require it. This will look different among all of us. For some, it will mean taking in an immigrant family and providing them a home. For others, it will be finding ways to use your gifts, skills, and passions to serve immigrants. For still others, it will mean taking up the banner and fighting for the rights of those who have come to this country seeking refuge. I don’t pretend to know what it will look like for all of you, but I do know that our God is a God of Refuge. Let us follow in His steps and reclaim our status as People of Refuge.
Andrew Means, M.P.P., is founder of Means Well Does Good, a boutique consulting firm helping donors and nonprofits alike identify, measure, and evaluate their effectiveness. He is also a recent graduate of The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.
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