The Stranger

The Stranger

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it”  (Hebrews 13:2 NIV).

A friend recently told me an amazing story of kindness that begin with the simple words “excuse me.”  She was walking to her car in a parking lot when a voice from behind called out to her, “excuse me.”  She froze for a second and did not immediately respond.  She thought that this is likely a con man or a beggar wanting a hand out.  Questions raced through her mind.  Why doesn’t he get a job?  If I give him money, is he going to use it to buy drugs?  Doesn’t he realize that I have stuff to do? 

She turned and looked at the man and before she could respond she saw a man with no arms.  She was shocked but managed to respond,  “yes?”  The man said, “I am sorry ma’am, but I have not eaten for a few days and if you could find it in your heart to buy me some food, I would be very grateful.” 

She told me that she knew that this man was authentic because he was not asking for money.  He was kind and polite and it seemed sincere as if it was natural part of his inner being.  She responded, “yes let’s go to the Wendy’s next door and I will eat with you.”

As they sat and ate the man told her that he was a military veteran and was wounded in action.   She was cautious that he may be lying but was reassured by an inner voice in her head that he was sincere.  As they finished the meal, she told the man to go back and order more food to take with him – whatever he wanted.  He did so.  He then thanked my friend and prayed a blessing over her and left.   She said that by the time he left she felt a calming presence from him that she had never felt before.  He was gentle and humble.

Now as I reflect back on the story, I see the hand of God.  First, the man approached my friend and waited for her response.   Doesn’t that sound like the invitation “Come to me” (Matthew 11:28) that God extends to us and waits for our response “Come to me” (Matthew 11:28).

Then, I noticed that my friend agreed to provide food for the stranger.  Doesn’t that sound like the command “Feed my sheep” that Jesus gave Peter in John 21:17.

Finally, as he left, I note that my friend felt a gentle and humble presence.  Doesn’t that sound like how Jesus described himself in Matthew 11:29 – “I am gentle and humble in heart.”

We are all children of God. I have no doubt that my friend met Jesus that day. The Holy Spirit is in each of us so we met Jesus each day when we meet each other. Imagine if we treat each stranger we meet as the child of God.  Imagine.

Prayer:  Dear God:  You are truly gentle and humble in heart.  Create in us a new heart that is also gentle, humble, and seeks only to please you.  Help us to see You in everyone that we meet.  We love you.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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