The verse goes like this (Hebrews 13:2)
"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."
Although entertaining friends and family in our home brings me much delight and I am certain there are angels among those individuals, it's the strangers part that I kept coming back to. It hit close to home and I'd like to tell you why.
I am not sharing this story to boast of things I've done, but to share my experience in hopes it brings inspiration to you my friends. It brought more to me than I expected it to, which in the beginning wasn't my goal at all. Funny how GOD works that way huh? But I am getting ahead of myself.
An elderly gentleman that had a thinning frame, and somewhat of bitter words about life, and a longing in his eyes for someone to visit with crossed my path one day. He came into my workplace and although I was "acquainted" with him, I really didn't know him. He sat at my desk and we took care of business, my workload was large that day, but I didn't rush him off - there was something tugging at my heart to let him stay.
In our 45 minute conversation I learned he had lost his loved one in the past year, that he didn't care for the meals being delivered to his home daily, and that he tended to have a negative outlook on most things in life. The last thing could have easily swayed me to disregard him, but like I stated before there was a tugging at my heart. An image came to my mind of a "darker heart" yet in the middle had a "brightness" about it. One had to look to really see the brighter part but it WAS there, I just knew it.
As the time passed and I helped him to the door, there was already a seed growing in me to want to aide him. To bring growth to that "brightness" within him. I felt something in me, an excitement I had not felt in a very long time or maybe even ever.
I went back to my work, and as the day and evening progressed the seed grew. I prayed on it and thought about it and mentioned the story to my husband.
The following weekend I made fried chicken for my family with all the usual fixings. Mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, and biscuits. As I prepared this meal that seed grew into what I thought was as large as a watermelon and ready to burst out of my chest!
It was at that moment I decided I would take Mr. K a meal. A glimmer of this thought had been in my mind since our encounter, but like I said I didn't really know him and normally doing new things brings my fear to an all time high! So fear was somewhat winning out until now. A calmness came over me and I knew it was the right thing to do. (Can you guess who sent the calmness..... :) ?
I didn't set Mr. K a "dressed up" table, or invite him into our home, or turn him away due to his bitter words. I know the words come from a hurting heart, so I reached out to him in the best way I know how. I made him a meal and presented it on a paper plate wrapped in aluminum foil with a small note attached.
As I drove to work on the day I was going to deliver my little bit of what I hoped to be brightness in his day, I felt calm. As I came upon his home, I saw the front door open, and his car in the driveway, not in the garage. It was like it was saying "hello, come on in." I said a prayer of thanksgiving right then to GOD. I also giggled because as I drove to his home, I realized that prior to moving to our current home, we literally lived right across the alley from Mr. K. If only I had known.....
Not until I parked my car, did my stomach start doing flips and I felt a tad bit on the nervous side. "What if he responded to me harshly, or what if he felt I was intruding or what if he didn't like my food." I literally prayed ALL THE WAY up to the porch!
He came to the door, opened it, I smiled and (although I didn't plan to go so fast) QUICKLY stated who I was, asked if he remembered our conversation, and offered the food. As I looked up to his eyes, at that moment, I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest. I saw a man with tears in his eyes and a thankful heart. Words of thanks came from him and I knew I had done the right thing. I saw alittle brightness in the somewhat darker image I had seen previously.
I left and as I walked to my car and even after arriving at work a short while later, I realized there was a smile on my face I could not remove even if I wanted to. The joy was an outstanding feeling my friends.
Since that first time, I have "entertained" this one time stranger periodically with a home cooked meal or homemade jam. Usually it is just a quick drop off at his front door, but one time he invited me in and I ended up spending my lunch hour learning of his heritage and his past hobby and that he is basically alone with no family or friends at all. It makes me sad to think of him as alone with no family or friends. His health is not the best either, so I pray for him often.
Personally I hope I can continue to grow in the "entertaining" aspect of my life with strangers, family, and friends. I don't do it as much as I should, but I want to make a conscious effort to do more.
Entertaining people can be done in the simplest ways, it doesn't have to be a large affair, that is what I have learned from this experience. A smile, a small meal, a note card sent by mail, a text message just saying hi,or just a few minutes of your time, that is all it takes.
Mr. K was an angel and stranger in one to me, and I am so very glad I can now call him friend.