Thursday, October 13, 2011

Entertaining Strangers

There is a rich history of hospitality in our nation.  As people were traveling, they would knock on a homeowner's door and ask to stay for the night.  Often times, they found housing for the night in the home of total strangers.  During this era, people were even known to have unknowingly housed infamous criminals for the night as they were passing through town.  As years have passed and Motel 6's, Super 8's and Comfort Inns have emerged the tradition of hospitality has changed as well.  Hospitality as we know it today often involves opening our homes to close friends and family, inviting church members over for Sunday lunch or even to a restaurant.  It might include taking a sick or recovering friend a meal or offering to babysit for them.  All of these things are good, even great.  

I had never had the opportunity, to my knowledge, present itself to entertain strangers in my home - until this past Monday evening.  Sunday morning, I was passing the church office on the way to the sanctuary and the phone began to ring.  I knew no one was available to answer the phone so I took it upon myself to do so.  I figured if someone was calling a church on Sunday morning, it might be important.  I answered the phone and was introduced to Adam Clark.  At first I thought Adam was calling to sell me something, and I was beginning to feel sorry I had taken the initiative to answer the phone.  However, as Adam continued I realized he did have a need, a need that we would likely be able to meet.  I took Adam's information and passed it on to Preacherman that afternoon.  Adam is running from New York to California to raise money and awareness for rare cancers and an organization called Shannon's Fight.  The organization is named for Adam's 15 year old cousin, Shannon, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer.  Adam was calling ahead to request permission for he and his friend to pitch a tent on our church property on Monday night. 

Now on to the really cool part of the story...

I felt very strongly about inviting them to dinner Monday night, even before hearing Preacherman's sermon on serving others.  I could only imagine that if you were running across the country you might not see too many home cooked meals along the way.  Monday morning I set out to the grocery store to purchase some tater tots for my family's favorite tater tot casserole.  Our local store was out of the tater tots I usually buy so I decided to look further.  In the meat case I found some boneless pork loins on manager's special and decided that would work nicely in the crock pot and we would have BBQ pulled pork sandwiches for dinner.  I met Adam and James that evening to give them keys to an empty apartment a church member had generously offered for them to stay in overnight.  I told them that Preacherman would pick them up for dinner after football practice.  I told them that the menu was BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, cream cheese corn and baked potatoes and that they could back out if that didn't interest them.  One would think that in all my "grocery store" moments, I should come to expect God's intervention...I could not help but smile and give God the credit when James smiled and laughed and said that is one of Adam's favorite meals.

Late that evening they arrived for dinner.  While they were here they were also able to do some laundry and connect to the internet to check out the rest of their journey.  Upon arriving in Augusta they had recently passed the half-way mark.  Adam was feeling good and said that he was running at a comfortable pace and was looking forward to completing this journey 2 days before Thanksgiving and flying home to be with family for the holiday.

I am so thankful that God presented us the opportunity to open our home to two unknown young men from Long Island and share His love and encouragement for a few hours on a Monday night.  Were they angels? I don't know, but what I do know is this: God is good, all the time.

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. 
~Hebrews 13:2

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