By Andrew Stoddard
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
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4 thoughts on "Making Room for the Stranger"
We are learning to neighbor. Ram lives in 1336. His wife and daughters are still in India. Virginia has wanted to cook a meal for Ram, take care of him a little bit. It would not be easy to live so far from family. Hapeville is home to 70% Hispanics. Trip Cities Church wants to see their community grow to 33% Hispanic. They’re right there in the community. These needs are right on front of me. I have the margin to act. I have the resources to do something about it. I’m good at reading about needs, talking about needs. Lord let me take to action!
Day 9: man I love the idea of opening ourselves up to the lord. Before this I would have been confused as to what that meant, but doing what he wants us to do, making it a priority to offer hospitality, we open ourselves up to the lord. What a beautiful thing. I don’t want to be closed off from the king of kings. I want to love freely. Not giving it to some and not others. I love y’all. E safe traveling today or this weekend.
I think I was six years old when I came to the states. I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t know how to communicate with others because I didn’t speak any English at all. I remember missing home a ton. I’m thankful that God placed people in my family’s life that helped us settled in. I still remember people giving us food, toys and even went to appointments with us to be our interpreters. I didn’t see it then but it was a definitely a gift from God. In the same way, I have extend that hospitality to anyone I meet because I known the feeling of being a stranger. Jesus didn’t died for us to be passive Christians. He didn’t die so I can just be comfortable in my home. Lord, help me to be a risk taker just like you and help me to bring people together.
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