Jesus was always about reaching out to the outcasts and the marginalized of society. During our morning service today at High Mill Church, I saw that same love modeled, and though my premise in writing this blog might seem simplistic to some, I believe that today’s events touched the very heart of God and gives us a living model of inviting others into the Father’s House!
I am not in the habit of writing blogs about individuals, but in this case I must. Thank You Steve for being the hands and feet of Jesus and modeling God’s love for the stranger in our midst. I don’t have to share your last name, because you know who you are, as do others who have observed you do this before.
I was standing in the back of the church as people were streaming in, when I noticed in the last row a couple with a teen age young man. I could tell that they were visitors and somewhat uncomfortable- being in a new surrounding with unfamiliar faces. I went over and introduced myself and soon realized that they were at High Mill for the first time. Immediately, I looked for another youth or leader to introduce the young man to. Initially, I didn’t see anyone, until I walked to the front of the church and saw, you guessed it, Steve. I asked Steve to go back and be friendly-nothing more. I always have a burden for those who need to be pulled into the “family” that we call church, so it was natural that a few minutes later, I looked back to check on the family, only to realize that the young man was missing. A few minutes later, I checked again, and he still hadn’t returned to his seat. My first reaction was that maybe he had been scared off by the attention that he had been receiving.
Worship was about over, and so I walked to the front of the church to where I would be sitting. Much to my surprise and joy, there sitting in the second row with Steve and a few other youth was the young man. You see, not only had Steve done the polite thing ,but he did the Jesus’ thing and took the next step and invited him to sit down front with him- literally inviting him into the security of our church family.
Again, this simple analogy might seem simplistic to you at the very least and a waste of blogging time at the greatest, but I want to ask you several important questions. When is the last time you took the time on a Sunday morning, or for that matter any other time and introduced yourself to the stranger in your midst and invited them to sit with you? Jesus put it this way in Matthew 25:35, “I was a stranger, and you invited me in.” Secondly, have you ever been that stranger and prayed for God to send you someone? Why is this simple lesson so important to me? Putting aside the fact that Jesus spoke and modeled such love, I can tell you personally, that it was that one simple invitation during a church service, in my moment of uncertainty and fear of the unknown, that catapulted me into a spiritual place that I had never known existed!
Finally, Hebrews 13:2 reminds us that,” Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” While I believe and take this charge literally, I am not suggesting that the Holy Spirit would place angelic beings in front of you, but the charge in Hebrews is to take seriously the stranger in our midst because just maybe…
God, make us a people that takes seriously the Great Commission- realizing that often times it can be lived out within the church as well as without!
This blog, will form the foundation for a soon coming blog answering what is Israel’s Role in God’s plan for redeeming man, and secondly, how do we see Israel in light of God calling them is Chosen and loved?