As we watch the evening news, we witness explicit actions of insecurity within our nation with much mistrust and antagonism. How can we possibly serve one another? What if we are called to entertain angels unaware.
Just after the “911” tragedy is when the insecurity began. I recall at that time we were told to report any unusual activity and I remember feeling very protective of my little family. It was a late Friday afternoon and my pot roast dinner was cooking. You can imagine the wonderful aroma of a New England pot roast with vegetables slow cooking in the crock pot. It was an Indian summer kind of day and with all the windows open the aroma brought to us a mystery guest. The kid’s dad came in from outside and asked me if I would prepare a plate for a visitor that happened into our driveway. She was an older woman who was homeless and had been walking from the midwest up through the east coast. All her wordly belongings were carried in two large trash bags. We had never encountered anyone like this before, and given our rural setting, it was an anomaly to see anyone walking on our street. Anyway, I loaded up a plate of potroast with vegetables and fresh corn on the cob for our visitor. We served her outside in a lawn chair in front of our parked camper. I kept the kids inside and went out and sat with her to learn more about her. Her name was Lylah. She told me that she had sold all her wordly posessions and was walking to share the Gospel. She shared with me her close relationship with the blessed Mother. Wow! Can you imagine having faith like that? She did not know where she was headed nor where she would sleep and did not know where her next meal would come from but knew in her heart that God would provide for her as He always had. After a talk with my husband we decided to invite her to stay in our camper for the night as the evening was fast approaching. She readily accepted and we got her all set up for the night. I did not invite her into our home however, and in retrospect wonder if I should have. I was on high alert and insecure following “911” and extremely protective of our children. Afterwards, however, the Bible verse came to my mind about entertaining angels:
1Let brotherly love continue. 2Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
In retrospect, I wished I had treated her to everything we had and feel that I may possibly have failed by not welcoming her into our home.
So after I considered that Bible verse, it reminded me of a time where I just may have been a co-participant in entertaining angels unaware.
Today is one of my dearest friend’s birthday. I have known my friend PJ since third grade. As I looked at pictures of her this morning, it brought me back to a trip that I took a few years ago when I viisited her in California. I was attending a convention but incorporated a mini vacation stay with she and her family. During the stay PJ invited me to share an experience with her and her daughter on the following Saturday morning. She explained that we would need to leave the house by 4:00a.m. to head into Los Angelos to feed the homeless. PJ and her family are involved in a ministry called Saturdays’ Blessings. Her family prepares approximately 100 sack lunches on their dining room table on the Friday evening before and transports them into the city to gift to the homeless. Not only was there food and toiletries, but also random donated clothing from their church that they shared as well.
I was excited to be a part of this endeavor on that dark and early morning but what transpired was not quite what I had expected. PJ and her daughter knew many of the faces as they were regular recipients of their Saturday gifts and they even spoke with a few of them as old buddies. There were two of the homeless friends that she especially wanted me to meet and she introduced each as if we were attending a social function. As I shook their hands, I realized how much she respected these people who were for whatever reason down on their luck and unable to find their way out of their circumstances. As we chatted with her friend “Louis”, she asked him if there was anything else that he needed. As we talked, we wound up on the subject of his love for art. He explained that he liked to draw portraits of movie stars and he soon headed back to his make shift shelter to grab some of his drawings to share with us. He even gifted PJ his drawing of Marilyn Monroe. I can imagine that it felt good for Louis to be able to give this gift to her, as he was giving something of himself as he shared his gift of art. His self esteem seemed re-inflated as we oooed and awed over his talent.
It was a great privilege to serve others that morning with PJ. It made me think more about how connected we all are as part of God’s family. Any one of those people could have been myself or PJ if life circumstances had been different. They all breathe, eat and sleep and experience emotions just as we do. I will never take my circumstances and blessings in life for granted again!
I also from time to time think of Lylah and wonder where she is sharing the gospel? I wonder how many miles she has walked and with whom she has interacted. God has a purpose for my life and also for yours. We’re not here to just sit back and be comfortable. When God shows up in our lives, I can confidently say that it is on purpose and for His purpose. By responding affirmatively we can be certain that He will take us on a journey like none other. And who knows? We just may entertain angels unaware.
“And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me
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