edited December 1969 in Random Issues
does the Bible encourage christians to emigrate to other countries in search of 'greener pastures'? anyone got any ideas?.. thank you.


  • I guess the Lord encourages his creation on seeking what they can do best to help others and fulfill their own potential wherever they can. The Lord Himself did not stay all His life in Nazareth but did "immigrate" somehow
    [coptic]Oujai q[/coptic][coptic]en [/coptic][coptic]P[C[/coptic][coptic][/coptic]
  • interesting answer. my question, however, was focusing specifically on CHRISTIANS and not generally on humans (as God's creation).
    And, ... how do christians decide to move from one country to another?. How can one take advice from the Bible on this matter?.

    thank you...
  • I suspect that if you are looking for any easy answers, or for some 'thing' or 'method' that is in some way going to give you certainty about whether you should or shouldn't immigrate, you might be disappointed. I speak as someone who has moved to another country, halfway around the globe. Generally (not always) many of those heroes of faith in the bible who immigrated or moved to another country did so with a purpose. They were either instructed to leave by God, or they left for another purpose (like looking for a wife amongst distant relatives, a calling from God to evangelise etc.) I think that going to a new country without a purpose is problematic.

    The second question to ask yourself or God or your spiritual mentor / father is how will the purpose I am pursuing in that other country enhance my relationship with God and other poeple. (Keep in mind the parable of the prodigal son, who took his inheritance with a view to enjoying himself in a foreign country. His motive was to increase his independence and to maximise pleasure in his life.) Many poeple leave a country purusing higher living standards and more money. they mistakenly think that having more money and improved living conditions will necessarily benefit their spiritual life. (For many this is not the case. Think about Jesus's warning the rich young man about wealth.)

    So, I guess what I am saying is to try and think through your motives for immigrating and to see hwo it helps you to love God better, and your neighbour. Discuss this with other poeple, like a spiritual father / mentor, and with the poeple who will be affected by you leaving. Then all that is left is to make a decision. Sometimes the only way to know whether a decisions is life enhancing is to make it, carry it through and see what effect it has on your life and the lives of others.

    Hope these few thoughts are helpful.

    Best Wishes

  • [quote author=lightening link=topic=9646.msg118719#msg118719 date=1283086260]
    does the Bible encourage christians to emigrate to other countries in search of 'greener pastures'? anyone got any ideas?.. thank you.

    What if the "Greener" pasture was in a country that didn't allow you to have a Church? Where you were treated as a second class citizen, because of your faith? Let's say, for example, Saudi Arabia. What if you got a job there?

    What if the money was good, but what would suffer was that you'd be living in humilation - as you'd be treated like dirt for not being muslim. Does the Bible encourage this? Let's ask Fr. Peter?? Im not sure what he will say?

    However, immigrating to countries where there are better job opportunities and you can practice your faith without fear of repression - what is so bad about that? Many coptic christians would have preffered to live in Egypt, and even remain poorer had it not been for the discrimination against them.

    Yes, they have succeeded in the Diaspora, but I know as a fact that in their hearts, they are extremely bitter about having had to leave Egypt.

  • I don't think there is anything that can be added to Gerhard's post. It expresses my own thoughts, as someone who has lived in the same place for 46 years. I have been always interested in the monastic virtue of stability. This was the rule that a monk should find his salvation in one place and not easily move from place to place hoping to find somewhere perfect. I have applied this in my own life by staying put. But this is not an absolute rule. To go somewhere, even distant, in obedience to the call of God is a good thing. But as Gerhard says, looking just for material comfort and success is more problematic.

    I would not want to judge anyone who has emigrated. So I won't. But the place where we have come from also needs faithful Christians. If we have gone somewhere else then we had better make sure that we are entirely committed to God wherever we find ourselves. That way, whether or not we have travelled in accordance with God's will we will at least be able to serve where we are.

    We should do nothing without seeking the will of God. There is nothing that is just 'our business'.

    Father Peter
  • Our Lord was an Immigrant and Refugee.  Egypt harbored Him.  This was a special case and scenario.

    I often remember the Jewish adage:  "Watch what you ask for, you may get it."  This statement has so many meanings.  I would think it summarizes everything in the previous posts.
  • Sometimes I wonder, why my father brought us to the United States.  I wonder if we would have been better staying in Egypt?

    If I were in Egypt, would I take for granted the spiritual riches, shrines, and glory of the Coptic Church?

    Do I appreciate it more, since I am in a distance in the United States?

    Sometimes the answer, for me, changes by my mood and the day that I am having.

    There is a strong ambivalence.

  • thank you all, and particularly Father Peter, for insightful replies. I like zox's lateral thinking that considers in his analysis countries where churches are persecuted. very mind opening!
    another interesting point raised by zox is the claim that christians are right to leave their countries and cultures they belong to if they are fearful of their oppressors..... quote:However, immigrating to countries where there are better job opportunities and you can practice your faith without fear of repression - what is so bad about that?. Can any body give us a clue on the oppression 'thing'.... 

    keep me posted please. i want to learn more!!.
    thank you
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