The Christmas story we are used to is sanitized. The reality was far more complicated—and is still relevant in light of the world we live in today. As we think back on that reality, we remember that Jesus himself was from a peasant family living in a country under the domination of a foreign power. He was the target of a ruthless and violent tyrant and escaped with his life only because his parents fled to Egypt. There they lived as refugees and migrants, waiting for a time to go back home. Later, after growing up in his homeland, Jesus was ultimately killed by yet another oppressive regime.
It is our belief in Jesus that is at the heart of why we do what we do.
If you know anything about SIL LEAD, you know that we are a faith-based nonprofit helping local, community-based organizations use their own languages to improve their quality of life. But maybe you don’t know why we do this. It’s simple, really: We do what we do to love our neighbor as ourselves.* The Bible recounts how Jesus Christ’s opponents, who were looking for a sound bite that they could use against him, once asked him what the most important commandment was. Jesus told them, quoting from their own holy book, the Torah, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind...Equally important, you must love your neighbor as yourself.”
As Jesus’ followers, that’s the call we try to answer. And just as we love God, we seek to love people with our heart, soul, and mind:
Our heart—we have compassion for those who are marginalized or in need. For us, that means those who may be marginalized because they speak a different language or lack access to resources that are mediated through a dominant language.
Our soul—when we serve people, we serve God. And there is no greater calling and privilege than serving God.
Our mind—we understand that people should be treated with dignity and respect, and we seek to serve them thoughtfully and with excellence.
Jesus’ story is one that still moves us and drives us to a particular kind of service with and for our neighbors. Whether or not Jesus’ story is also your story, we hope that you will join us in 2019 in serving unique and valued people with one-of-a-kind languages and ways of life.
*This is actually quoted in our organization's articles of incorporation.
**This story is told in the New Testament, Matthew 22:34 -40.