Leviticus 19:34, Ruth 2:5-12, Matthew 25:35-36, John 4:1-26, Acts 16:6-10
Over the last several years, millions of people worldwide have been displaced by wars and natural disasters. Some might say we live in the age of the refugee. It seems barely a day goes by without reading about another global tragedy in the headlines. If we’re not careful, we can become so wrapped up in “the issues” that we forget about the individual mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons being displaced around the globe.
Without warning, our hearts can grow calloused toward people who seem far away, so unlike us. But the truth is, we have all been like the early Israelites, strangers in a strange land (Leviticus 19:34). And in one sense, we still are. Scripture tells us that here on earth, no matter our level of comfort, we are not home.
That’s why God the Son stepped out of heaven and into our broken world: to rescue all those who would hear His voice. As we follow Him further and further out of darkness and into the light, we are called to help those we can along the way. With some of these “strangers,” that might mean offering spiritual encouragement and investment; with others, it might mean going out of our way to try to provide for a physical need.
When we offer hospitality to the stranger, we honor God, whether that stranger is a newcomer at church, a new hire at work, or a new immigrant in the community. In offering hospitality and love, especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ, we experience intimacy with God. This is a divine mystery, but one Jesus Himself confirms: “‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me’” (Matthew 25:35–36).
So give aid, love freely, and live generously along the way. When we open our hearts to the stranger, we open our hearts to Jesus.
Written by Andrew Stoddard