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Hot Lunch and Syrian Refugees — 49 Comments

    • Thank you Lars for this post I new about your studio when I was in Nampa in 1991 but did not know about the hot Lunch. I worked briefly at pacific press thats when I got to know you.
      God Bless you I have always enjoyed to see your artwork in the quaterly here in Tanzania. And thank you for the many who were blessesd by your ministry at the hot Lunch.
      God Bless you.

    • Great story Lars very impressive. What an example of selflessness. Imagine cooking for so many people for such a long time. So many people were blessed as a result of the kindness and generosity of both you and your wife. My prayer is that the Lord can use me to be a blessing to someone in need, the way He has used you. I have always admired your artwork. Keep up the good work. God's blessings as He continues to use you in such a special way.

  1. Thank you so much for this post. I saw one interview with Dr. Ben Carson regarding his stand on helping the Syrian refugees. Interestingly enough, he used the same quote on Matthew 10:16 as a defense but on the premise of not supporting the idea. I use to stand on that side of the wall upholding the value of security above helping others. But I shamefully admit that I represent most Christians who have more fear than courage to promote a Christlike character. If you think about it, what do we have to fear if we already know the outcome in the end? Why are we concerned for our safety if God promised us protection? Our duty is to promote the three angels message, part of that is to fear God, which in essence is to revere Him through obedience. I see no fulfillment of that charge if we choose not to help out. A message well written is one who does not solicit admiration but one who causes a change of heart.

  2. Dear Lars,

    Your article brought me to tears and is a picture of what we should be doing for others. Perhaps we all can't do hot lunches for the needy, but we can do something for others with no thoughts of any return. I appreciate the honesty of your facts, like: "the ratio of truly needy people to these less-than-worthy folk was about 4 to 1, or about 25% freeloaders". I appreciate how you and your wife have helped people in various ways-like helping the man come out of the hole lined with cardboard. My own brother lived in a cardboard box in a field for 8 months over a cold winter and never wanted help. It's one thing to fall through the cracks and another thing to fall through the cracks and then resist all help. I plan to use your article for a mission story and an example of how we can help others. The willingness to help others has always been in my blood and it's not something we can transfer to others. God motivates us if we are listening and it's such a blessing to learn what you and your wife have done for others who have needed help. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Jane. Kim and I hesitate to focus on our work because we do believe anonymity is God's will for us when we try to do good. But the recent prevalence of anti-refugee feelings among professed followers of Christ reminded me so much of the lessons we learned from our hot lunch program that I felt I needed to share what we learned from that experience. You mention that you have the same willingness to help others. I was thinking about where this comes from and I remembered a Christmas eve that I had when I was probably no older than 7 years old.

      Back then my father was a colporteur and I was the oldest of 5 children - we are all one year apart. My father's car had been badly damaged by a man who had no car insurance. A judgment from the court ordered the man to pay my father $20 a month, so my Dad would stop by to get his money once each month. But he could not help but notice that this man and his family had it worse off than we did. We were, ourselves, truly poor since my father did not have any natural skills as a door to door salesman. But the spirit of giving was still a part of my parent's lifestyle.

      That Christmas eve my mother bought me and my brother a meshed Christmas stocking full of candy and little toys and we ate about half of it while my Mom drove around shopping in Kankakee, Illinois near where we were living. In the afternoon she asked my brother and I if we would like to give the balance of our Christmas stocking to the children of this man that my Dad was getting money from. I recall my brother and I were not that enthusiastic about it, but we agreed. That evening my folks drove by this man's home and I walked with my parents up to the door as they delivered a "food basket", basically a big cardboard box full of food, something Adventists often did back in those days. My mother and I stood in the front room of the house while my father went into a side room to speak briefly with the man. It was now evening and the young children of the house had gone to bed. Suddenly my mother bent over and whispered to me "Lars, look under their Christmas tree. Do you see what they have put there for their children?" I looked over at a little spindly Christmas tree and under it was a brand new box of Cheerios.

      Something inside me cut me to the quick. I knew we were not rich, but we knew that the next day would would get real toys under our tree. Suddenly I felt a gratefulness in my 7 year old heart that my mother had lead us to give our half eaten Christmas stockings to this family. I remember walking back to the car with tears streaming down my face, deeply troubled that some people have to go without.

      I share this because I believe that compassionate behavior is, at least to some degree, something that is taught to us by the lives and examples of those around us. I fear that in this age where we are insulated from the lives of others who are in need, that we loose the chance to not only help those suffering, but we miss the chance to leave an example for our children. I don't think we are born caring about others - we are lead to care.

      Jesus knows this reality and my prayer is that He will open doors for us to give sacrificially, and not only know the special joys that come from giving, but to share those experiences with our children.

      • Dear Lars,

        Thank you for your reply and for stating this, " Kim and I hesitate to focus on our work because we do believe anonymity is God's will for us when we try to do good." I agree and needed this reminder.

        Gino Bartali is an Italian cyclist that helped save many people's live in World War II and said, "we must do good, but you must not talk about it. If you talk about it you're taking advantage of others' misfortunes for your own gain."

        Thank you for sharing another story from your background. I am very touched by how you were seven years old and influenced by your parents, "...my mother bent over and whispered to me "Lars, look under their Christmas tree. Do you see what they have put there for their children?" I looked over at a little spindly Christmas tree and under it was a brand new box of Cheerios.

        Something inside me cut me to the quick. I knew we were not rich, but we knew that the next day would get real toys under our tree. Suddenly I felt a gratefulness in my 7 year old heart that my mother had lead us to give our half eaten Christmas stockings to this family. I remember walking back to the car with tears streaming down my face, deeply troubled that some people have to go without."

        Thank you for taking the time to share with us.

      • Thank you for the inspirational thought just at the right time. I am not adverse to bringing in refugees, but I do believe we have to be prayerful about it, just as we would be if we were taking people into our home. Protecting our family is on at least an even keel with helping others. We can't be cavalier about potential terrorist risks, but we also can't be fearful of helping others as if there were no God to protect us and rightly call ourselves Christians. Thank you for your contribution in art and for bringing such poignant thoughts to the table. I will always remember your stories, as they have made a deep impression.

  3. In the name of Jesus, if God is for us then what enemies can stand against us? Fear not and let us do what Christ teaches us to do in the name of love without fear or favour and he'll do the rest, May God continue to bless those who help those in need, strengthen those who have the mind to but lack the faith and lead those who want to follow .

    For he said, blessed is he that considereth the poor and he that winneth soul is wise.

  4. My name is Ron Reese I have written for several of our publications and have enjoyed your art work tremendously! I never realized you could also write! Thank you for sharing God's gift to you and us in your art. May God bless you Lars for sharing this piece and what it means to be 'better to give than to receive'. Like many others at first I was leery of bringing in Muslim refugees into these United States. And the incident in Paris didn't make this thought any easier. But your absolutely right when it comes to our asking the question, "What would Jesus do?"

  5. Dear Lars,
    I want to appreciate the charity work you've extended to the less-priviledged and would want to believe that God had purposed such a work through you.There's no greater work in which God takes delight in as the work of helping the poor and in my perception,it's the backdrop of our call.Lars, as I write,I'm a victim of the circumstance,I'm a Kenyan born who has suffered from the hands of poverty living below a dollar per day and struggling to get education that hasn't materialised either.I saw God's intervention in my life when a German born guy called Alfred Finken came in to assist but this didn't last due to the 2007-2008 postelection violence that saw his charity work come to an end. So,as I write,I understand the work God has bestowed upon your hands in relation to the care I got in Alfred's hands.May God continue that work through you, Amen.

  6. Thank you for sharing your story, what a blessing it is. I too am guilty of feeling the fear and anxiety of opening our borders up to the Syria refugees because of the risk of extremists filtering in through their ranks. But your story has changed my perspective on the issue. I will try to be more supportive of the cause in my discussions with my friends and colleagues. I want to truly be representative of the word Christian and do good, help others and trust that God will bless my efforts. I also enjoy your beautiful and creative drawings in the online Sabbath School guide. Thank you for using you talent for God's glory!

  7. Thank you Lars for sharing that story and making it a ‘now’ topic, which is really as old as Christ told us to give, with no thought of reward. Your story percentage of 25% of freeloaders compared to 75% worthy made sense to me, as I had been wondering if the risk is worth the effort in any good deeds. Now I too have a ratio/formula to go by from your story that has a ring of truth to it. Sometimes we just have to be shown how to change our mind, you have done that for me. I also appreciated your follow-up example of the importance of one (each) person in the world such as Steve Jobs Apple founder. Nice to meet you Lars, and nice to meet the artist/s too I appreciate the symbolisms.
    A Stolz

  8. Dear Debbie,
    The idea you have is Heaven-sent. I strongly back you up to make a bolder step to the service of humanity for If a physical need is not met then it's challenging to evangelise. May God bless your possession as anticipate launching that project.

  9. Thank you for the great inspiring story Lars. Today I learned that Steve Jobs was born to a person many would call an "immigrant" today. In the streets of Nairobi-Kenya, there are many poor people begging for money and many well-off persons decide not to give anything to any of the beggars because they believe there are some "fraudsters" posing as needy people. God gives rain to the good and to the bad and we should do that too.

  10. I was lying in my be the morning after having a very good meal after thanksgiving with friends and family. It drives home to me that I need to do more. My motto has always been people are more important than things. Be bless.

  11. I am a Sierra Leonean, and I have lived in Papua New Guinea (South Pacific) for the past 17 years. My prayer each day is that "Lord help me to be a blessing to someone today". Many times I have failed in that because I feel some of the people I come across who beg for money are not genuine. But thanks Lars for sharing. I do have a new perspective now when it comes to helping the needy. From this day forth, by the grace of God, I will do my part to bless someone each day. May God continue to bless your work.

  12. Thank you so much for this post. It gave me something to think about. I also learned the value of helping the less fortunate from my mother, but the possibility of people to whom you give not being deserving of it never occurred to me. However, reading this has given me the drive to continue the monthly "food basket" (we still do this in Trinidad) effort my mother and I would get involved in as often as possible - even though, as she passed on recently, it would take a little more effort for me to keep up. Your post has impressed upon me how much it should be regarded as our duty as professed Christians.

    By the way, I have been impressed for years with the art work done on our quarterlies. No doubt inspired work. May God continue to bless your efforts.

  13. Thanks for sharing your story and allowing God to use you to help the needy people. I am an immigrant to the United States myself and I do appreciate the opportunity that God gave me in this country. When I first came to US, God used the church family to help me. By God's grace, I plan to pay it forward. Thanks for the encouragement received from your story. I enjoy your beautiful drawings in the Sabbath school guide. I pray that God will continue to bless your ministry. Amen.

  14. The only one who never had to change His opinion is God. I like many others have reconsidered my position on the refugee situation. Thanks for the insight. Iron sharpens iron.God bless.

  15. Beautiful story. It couldn't have come at a better time! Thank you so much for sharing. Oh, its nice to finally put a face to the artist whose work I've enjoyed for years. Thanks for sharing your gift.

  16. Wow!!! I've been in tears all morning. Our Father has given me peace about my mother and her illness with dementia. I wish I could be of more help but, i live far away. I learned my good friend lost her middle son. I have known him since he was a child. And I wrote to my friend to share God's peace and how to get His peace by simply asking. Sadness struck me in the dark so I leaned on my bed and asked God to take away that painful sadness and comfort me. And HE DID! I wanted my friend to experience this power of comfort...
    Then it was time to study and I stumbled across your story. I love our Lord for His spirit and the light that He gives to us. The experience of joy in the midst of chaos. I have always dreamed of helping the poor- tho I don't have as much as many but have more than most - I gotta do something better with the talents God has given me. Your story has given me a template. Thank you Lars...thank U Father for putting Lars' story on this website. And your drawings...man they take me away to that place ..ya know. So cool...so precious. They allow me to go back in time and make the storys real. Many blessings brother.

  17. A powerful story and just what I was looking for to motivate and encourage a change in my Sabbath School members who are more concerned for their lives and not that of our suffering Syrian brothers and sisters. The emphasis placed on the risk and threat to personal safety should not outweigh our desire to help the needy. This life is temporary, die we must! So why not focus on a life, lived well in service to Christ and helping others.

  18. Your article to me was/is an important answer to a terrible question I struggle with, as a Christian. It put me to shame for my ideas, and has motivated me to change. I just don't understand why I don't agree with the intent of the article. I even posted the article on Facebook, until I read the replays and recognized the intent of the article; being political in nature. I don't understand why I struggle with importing refugees to our country? Ever since I grew up in the middle east, Lebanon, I recolonized that refugees are a different kind of problem. And if the statistics of your free Wednesday lunch are consistent, then 1/4 could be free loaders and even if 10% of the free loaders (which I would expect to be higher) are terrorists we are looking at 100 or more active terrorist persons coming into our country. And then all the people who have a Muslim faith, also have a call to Jihad during their life time. This makes a none terrorist a potential future terrorist with the right Imam, blog enthusiast, or some other hate group generating email list. Jihad has a dual meaning, one being struggling within one's self and struggling with those who oppose the faith of Islam (Islam meaning submission). When ISIS is recruiting people they are not referring the internal spiritual struggle of a devout Muslim, they are referring to the devout Muslim opposing all unrighteousness and making sure others submit to their belief. A nation sometimes referred to as "the great Satan" definitely falls under that category. I think importing refugees is importing social problems. Once they are here we have to feed them, educate them, and house them for at least a generation or two or three. Social problems become political foot balls. I don't understand why the Arab countries don't want them, what with so many Muslims struggling with their "internal" Jihad. Its too bad we don't take God's advice in the old testament in how to run a country, then I could quote old testament on this... more than "feed the foreigner and the widow as if they were your own." I think what this article has helped me see is that feeding them in their country is a good thing. But bringing social problems to the United States just doesn't seem like a good idea or the right answer. I am struggling with it tremendously. Anyway good article, lots to think about. Thanks for your spiritual thoughts! 🙂

    • Kristopher, each person must decide on their own what course to take in helping others, including refugees, but may I suggest that we invited in God's Word to cast our cares on Him. We are not alone in this world.

      We will become like what we focus on, and if that focus is the potential harm that might come to us and our families, that will eventually characterize our thinking. If we focus on the miracles of God that we see everyday - people's lives being changed, God's mercy and long suffering towards each one of us, the beautiful things in life, then a thankful heart will come to characterize our daily lives.

      In the case of the refugees, I think of them in the big picture. We are all refugees if we are anything at all! We have all been in a terrible spiritual war since we came of age. We realize that this home we are in is on foreign soil, that we live in the Prince of Darkness' world. We are hoping for deliverance, as these refugees are. And we know that there are a few tares amongst the wheat - people who claim to be pilgrims and disciples of Jesus, but who really love the land of Prince Lucifer. But are happy that Heaven does not say "Look at all the hypocrites and sinners among those professing Christians - why should be let any into Paradise?" No, though there are freeloaders and spiritual terrorists among us, Heaven still gives us refugee status and vets us for the journey to a new life both here and in the next life.

      The sad modern reality is that the commercial media has recognized that they get far more viewership when they feature a story that sells danger and fear than any other kind of story. So our fears are excited constantly if we have a television or watch internet news. But what is the reality around us? You suggest that maybe 10% are terrorists. If that were true, then there would be a terrorist attack every day, probably several times a day. I live in Canada and we are taking in 25,000 refugees from Syria before this month is up. That is the goal. The vast majority are so grateful that they are brought to tears when they hear that Canada has accepted them. They will become loyal citizens of this country, grateful for this chance to live in peace, both them and their families. Sure there will be a few bad apples, but that is the nature of mankind. Even Jesus had one terrorist among His twelve disciples.

      But fear is such a successful and powerful tool that politicians cannot resist the temptation to use it to gain the loyalty of millions. We need to resist that. We have a different Master than most of them. He taught us to error on the side of compassion, to love our enemies, to do good to them that despitefully use us. A tall order. But His biddings are enablings. Perfect love castes out fear.

  19. thank you for such a inspiring true story.may God open my eyes and mind. I have to discern what am suppose to do.God help me

  20. Lars,
    To God be the glory for the immense work you are doing to His needy people.Such an inspiring story to learn serious lessons from."...don't use the risks as a licence to do nothing..." May God help us to reform from our selfish ways and serve humanity.Be blessed all for your comments,do something about it.

  21. When I was growing up my dad's blessing at every meal ended with "and make us ever mindful of the needs of others." I think it became a part of me even more so than the food I ate.
    There is an emphasis on "mindfulness" that I have been seeing in publications lately. I think Daddy's is a better option than the Eastern religion based version promoted in the self-help media today.
    To this day I see needs - sometimes to help a single mom with keeping children in "holy quietness" during church, sometimes just to help someone open a door. We are not all eyes or feet (1 Cor 12) but we can each do our part. And really, it is so much MORE blessed to provide quiet books than it is to murmur about "those out-of-control children who belong to that 'single' woman" - go ahead, you know the rest of that sentence is just full of condemnation and self-righteousness.
    I guess that the end of the prayer made me a "doer" - I even ended up with a career that is one of helping others. And being a doer helps me to be less judgmental, so I help myself as well as others.
    Thanks Daddy. And blessings to Lars for the post and to each of you in your mindful doing.

  22. Thanks so much for this post. It was a great inspiration and lesson for me. Appreciate your art work as well. God bless!

  23. Lars,

    What artistic talent the Lord has bestowed you with and God has certainly blessed your charity work.

    However, your parrallel of the "risks" you and your family took in your charity work in the name of love DOES NOT support your position that the U.S. should accept Syrian refugees at this time.

    1) It's admirable that you PERSONALLY chose to bear risks in your charity work, but you did not force others to do the same as you would be doing in the Syrian refugee situation.

    2) Tell me, when you personally bore those "risks" in your charity work did any of them rise to the equivalent of jihad waging muslim extremists proclaiming they wanted to behead, burn alive, torture, or blow-up you and your children?

    You seem to have a good Christian heart, so I highly doubt you would you have continued your charity group lunches knowing a very real chance existed a bomb could kill you, your family, and everyone you irresponsibly gathered? However, your logic would suggest that, in the name of love, Christians should advocate that all Americans be exposed to a very real risk of death and/or torture by jihadists intent on inflitrating the refugee masses, all while knowing we do not currently have an adequate vetting process.

    To take your logic further, would you also suggest that Christians, in the name of love, should not background check day care workers knowing a real chance exists that convicted sex-offenders are in the hiring pool? Of course not!

    I believe most Americans (Christian and otherwise) desire to help others, but at a reasonably minimized risk. You pointed out that Jesus said “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.” “Therefore BE WISE AS SERPENTS and harmless as doves.” (Matt 10:16).

    Christians who are "wise as serpents" yet walking amongst jihadist wolves recognize there is a difference between a Christian desire to help others, and a government's FIRST RESPONSIBILITY to protect its citizenry.

    Therefore, the issue is not the heart of Christians, it is whether or not our government has an adequate vetting process in place yet, so that the risk of infiltrators is minimized. Once that exists, refugees can be taken in and received by Americans with outpouring Christian hearts.

    To do otherwise irresponsibly exposes everyone to great harm and death... and that certainly would not represent a Christian "wise as a serpent" or "harmless as a dove."

    • You raise a couple of interesting issues for discussion in your comment, J.R. There is always a danger the political situation will muddy the water. I have a story to tell, that may help. My father served in the Pacific Islands in the Second World War in the NZ Medical Corps. He was involved in front-line hospital activities that cared for the wounded coming in from the battle field. It was not uncommon for Japanese soldiers to arrive at the base hospital and they were treated simply as men who needed medical attention and were helped on the basis of need rather than rank or side. My father passed that on to me as a prime directive for charity work.

      In the complex world we live in, we sometimes resort to stereotypes to simply decision making. With the recent events involving the Islamic State and refugees some politicians and media commentators have confused the issue by inferring that all Muslims are supporters of the Islamic State. In the last few days, several politicians have used that argument to support their own popularity. Such assertions are based on false assumptions. People in need should receive help irrespective of the their race or creed on the basis of their need.

      The current refugee crisis is a huge and complex task. Countries are being placed in a situation where their resources are stretched to the limit, and it is going to take more than aid to sort it out. The threat of ISIS is very real. I am not saying that we should not apply security checks; that is a decision for governments, but at the same time we need to respond to the biblical call to feed the hungry, care for the sick, and aid the needy.

    • Thank you for your thoughts, J. R. Let me address a few of your observations:

      First, I intended to make some general observations about the inherit risks that accompany helping others. We are called to take up our cross in self sacrifice for our Lord. I was not directly comparing the risks of our hot lunch program with the Syrian refugees, but there are principles that apply to both.

      Not sure how being in favor of helping the Syrian refugees is to "force others" to take a risk. In a democracy there are countless government activities that carry some risks. No single person really has that much influence. Certainly not me.

      I am currently living in Canada and the government here is bringing in more than twice the number of Syrian refugees that the US is and the country seems very positive and upbeat about helping these people out. http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/syrian-refugees-with-ptsd-offered-help-through-canadian-pilot-program-1.3350844 There are all kinds of private and public welcoming programs that I read about in the newspaper. I've yet to hear of any controversy over the risks.

      Of course the media 24-hour news cycle focused on dangers to the nation is virtually unknown up here. So Canadians do not frame this issue at all with the same emotions as I see in the US.

      Comments like "jihad waging muslim extremists proclaiming they wanted to behead, burn alive, torture, or blow-up you and your children?" are viewed as hysteria up here. These views do not come from personal experiences with Muslims. But they do have a source.

      If some Syrian refugee blows up a building and kills 168 people here in Canada, which is the number of people killed by Timothy McVeigh who blew up the Oklahoma Federal building, people will view it as they did McVeigh - a murdering hateful fanatic who belonged to a radical US militia group. But it will not mean that they now don't trust all the white young males in the United States. They use their common sense.

      I am concerned about the daily viewing of media reports that focus on fear and threats to the US. I get that nothing creates ratings better than fear, but by beholding we become changed. We are naturally are attracted to this. I know I am.

      The bottom line is that where Americans who watch and listen to partisan media see "bomb threats" from people who want to destroy us, many in the world simply see a potential danger that needs to be thoroughly guarded against, but does not require any of us to give up our common sense, our principles, our character as a nation, or our Christian beliefs.

      When I was 9 years old growing up in northern Illinois, we kids drove our bikes for miles around our town until dusk. People left their doors unlocked. In those days if you read about violent terrifying stories of rape and murder, they were stories in smutty magazines with names like True Detective and True Crime. But now instead of being ashamed to read about these things, they are the regular fare on television, universally creating fear of dangers within and without in our society. While the impact may not be as bad up here (a lot of Canadians still leave their house doors unlocked) the trend has been to be a more fearful society here, too.

      You bring up sex offenders and, of course I believe in doing background checks. But there were sex offenders back in the 50's and 60's, but I wonder if it kept children inside like it does now for some families who live in fear.

      You mention those "walking amongst jihadist wolves". I haven't personally seen any jihadist wolves. But the media knows that nothing - absolutely nothing - gets people's attention and loyal viewing like fear. It's money in the bank.

      Does this mean that there are not dangers that are real that we need to be vigilant against? Of course not. As I mentioned in my message above we need to be "extremely careful in our vetting and screening of refugees". I don't know any word that is stronger than "extremely".

      But I would suggest we not let the joy and wonderful opportunities of life be eclipsed by these media-driven fears. Jesus said He came to bring us life, and that more abundantly. The fruits of the spirit include joy. The Bible teaches that love casts out fear. It grieves me to see so many of my fellow Americans parroting the imagined dangers they hear on their televisions when, if they want to worry about actual threats, they could focus on the early deaths millions will suffer from unhealthy eating.

      Or how about getting upset that countless numbers of professed Christians teach that our loving God tortures His children that are not saved for all eternity. Now that is something to fight against - the deliberate mischaracterization of God that has led millions to fear God and deny that He even exists.

      Is it possible, JR, that the Great Deceiver has us focused on dangers that we are very unlikely to ever be directly affected by, just so we take our eyes off the true spiritual dangers of these last days? It seems a reasonable question to ask if we really believe that Lucifer fooled a third of God's angels.

  24. Your story is very relevant to me because I to became homeless in Chicago and Indiana while living there as an immigrant and having to depend on free meals, room and board at shelters lead by kindhearted Christians. The Irony of it all is that I been a Christian minister with vast outreach experience came to the conviction that my Lord place me in such condition to learn to minister to the needy and reaching the poor, that Jesus said will always be with us. Your story put me on the alert that there is a lot to be done out there in each community now that the end of all things is at hand.Thank you Bro.Justin, this story is for me. By the grace of Jesus and the help of the Holly Spirit I must go.

  25. Thanks for the article, In my experience with helping the less fortunate, the 25% is much lower then what I have seen. It is certainly hard to define who is really needy and who would do better with "tough love" but I would say greater then 50% would do better with other ways of helping. I think we also have to realize we live in a sinful fallen world where Gods Kingdom has not fully come and that requires us to be wise with discernment. Its not just a simple issue of, if your like Jesus you would welcome all the refugees, but if you don't your not being like Jesus. In this world there are nations and laws to govern those nations that in some instances God has had his guiding hand. Possibly the immigration laws of the USA. blessings

    • Personally, I must object to the notion that "God's guiding hand" could be behind laws that are obviously based primarily on selfishness. Trying to eliminate any possible or slight risk to ourselves and to our countrymen by passing over the opportunity of helping those in greatest need strikes me as just about the most un-Christlike thing that a person could advocate.

  26. R.G. That is an interesting thought. How do we deal with nations here in this world, should countries have no immigration laws? Should the countries have open access to all who would come? Should we have open access to our own houses for others that desire or need a place of living? Seems like a lot of difficult questions with some answers that require Holy Spirit guidance. blessings

    • Thank you for the thoughtful reply, Mark. I agree that, as families and as individuals, we always need divine wisdom and special spiritual guidance. Also, countries will do whatever countries will do. However, I do believe that our attitudes and principles should be informed by the Holy Scriptures. I ran across a rather interesting passage, this morning, found in Leviticus 19:33-34. Here it is, from the NKJV:

      And if a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. But the stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

      I understand that we today are no longer under the theocracy. However, I do believe that the instructions which God gave Moses for the nation of Israel are strongly indicative of His principles and character, which we should seek to emulate.

      I notice that Israel was not instructed to set up border guards in order to keep people out of their country. On the contrary, as soon as a stranger (i.e. a foreigner) arrived among them, he or she was to be treated as a natural-born citizen. How do you like that? Instant citizenship, for as long as the person chose to stay! Isn't that what you or I might want? And we are to love others as ourselves.

      I believe that these principles ought to inform our decisions, as families and as individuals, and also inform how we use our influence in the civic arena.

      • Great verse. I think the principle behind the foreigner coming into the country was they would accept the true God as their God and would thus become part of Israel. They would become conformed to the theocracy. You wouldn't have a group or individual come in and decide to worship baal and build their own temple and be accepted by Israel. Israel was to cut off such individuals even the natural born ones. Good thoughts you have blesdings to you

  27. Sharing aroused many efforts of those with relaxed talents. By reading how others are using their natural talents to fulfill God's work becomes an eye opener to those who are relaxed out there. Stories like this touches the heart, when you think of so many people in need wondering around to be fed but no one seems to notice that need it is pain full indeed! Most of us are afraid to assist these people by thinking that it will become a burden to us simply because this people will be coming back once they will be introduced to our homes and it will spoil our budgets. Thank you for being such a person, I believe that many are touched and experienced this need thus we will follow suit where we can.

  28. Thank you, Lars. Actually I am so pleasantly surprised to read this coming from a North American Seventh-day Adventist of a certain ethnicity. This is so contrary to what I have been seeing and hearing on social media sites. Have loved your and Kim's artwork for years. What a blessing to know the man behind the art! Thank you for the first story, but thank you even more for the seven-year old Lars story for it informs the main story. My understanding of the Gospel is that God gave His Son knowing clearly that many would reject Him, abuse Him, deny Him - squander His divine resources. He came anyway. We should give anyway. Share anyway. Leave the outcome to God. He will more than makeup for any seeming loss on our part and then add a blessing! We starve ourselves of His overflow as we try to protect ourselves from possible abuses. God give you more increase as you share with an open hand!

  29. How refreshing to read your article Lars. Yes you are right compassion does not come naturally to us. I myself am a single parent of three. I was homeless with twins but accepted government assistance and social services here in the UK. I've suffered with mental health issues from a teenager and now I am in my forties. I know about freeloaders those abusing the system but praise God! there were individuals like yourself who actually get it! Your article was like a refreshing pool in a dry and thirsty desert... Some one like you believed in me I myself am a cello player a musician and volunteer in church now as Club Director for Pathfinders, my twins grew up live with me and are thriving in primary school the oldest child also a musician works as a carer for Autistic adults plus working for his teaching qualifications...all this because individuals like yourself saw the need and now I too can give back. There is going to be a grand reunion see you in Heaven...☺️


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