Open the Door
Open the Door
‘Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels unawares (Hebrews 13:1).
Having given examples of those who lived by faith and encouraged his readers to persevere in the testing of their faith, the writer seems to sense he’s near the end of his opportunity to encourage. So, he pushes to squeeze as much practical advice as possible into the 6 verses of today’s reading. Marriage. Money. Contentment. The welfare of prisoners and those being mistreated. And the person mentioned in today’s verse, the stranger. Who could be an angel.
We have a bus stop outside our home. One night, heading out late to pick our son up from work, I noticed a lady waiting for the bus. She was still there on our return. Nothing unusual in that, except it was a Saturday night, and it was cold and the buses aren’t very regular then. Briefly wondering if she was ok, I headed inside and promptly forgot about her. As we headed tiredly up the stairs to bed, there was a knock on the door. It was her … bus stop lady. Could we tell her the name of our street so she could call a taxi and get a lift home? It was clear the bus wasn’t coming. Because I was a bit unsure I gave my husband a look that meant “I should drive her home. Actually, maybe it’s not safe for just one of us to drive her home. Maybe we should drive her home. Can you drive her home and I’ll come too?” He’s good at interpreting my looks, and he’s kind, so we headed out together for the trip to her house.
On the way we asked her about herself, and her story started coming. She lived alone in government housing. She had no car, and a visit to her disabled son required 3 buses. She’d become confused on the trip home and ended up in our street, outside our house. On dropping her at her door, we asked if she would like a phone call later and maybe a visit to see if she was ok. I wrestled over this with a ready list of internal excuses. I’m way too busy already. But she seemed lonely, and if we were aware of that and had an ability to respond (response-ability) then what were we called to do? We exchanged numbers and we’ve stayed in touch, visiting several times.
Have you wanted to reach out to someone and hesitated? Sometimes there’s fear, isn’t there? Stranger danger. What if they abuse my care, what if they ring all the time, what if they’re a serial killer? Bus stop lady wasn’t. She was just a lonely person who had had a hard life, the victim of other people’s choices, in need of a friend. God put her outside our house, outside our door and gave us an opportunity to respond.
Who have been the strangers in your life? Maybe you’ve been the stranger and on the receiving end of someone else’s care and love? I certainly have. What a blessing it is to join him in his work in the world—in entertaining angels.
Thank you that when we were strangers, you welcomed us in to your family. As we have opportunity to welcome others, give us the grace and wisdom to respond well and with love.