THIS POST HAS BEEN EXPANDED INTO MY NEW E-BOOK I WAS A STRANGER
How big is your house? Do your children each have their own bedroom? What about a family room? A den? An office? Two offices? A laundry room? Two bathrooms? Three? More?
Wonderful! I’m happy for you. I truly am. But with abundance comes responsibility. Let me tell you about some people who have very little but share it willingly and with open hearts.
Before my late husband passed away, our family spent a great deal of time in Mexico. We would drive around with a van or a bus jammed full of food and clothing, giving to people who lived in shanties made of pallets or sticks.
Not your dream house? Mine either.
A big bad wolf with asthma could blow these houses down.
If people had a one or two room (room—not bedroom) adobe house they were considered fortunate, indeed.
Some of us have closets bigger than that.
Their families were large (no local Planned Parenthood), and there were usually three or four generations in one small house. It reminded me of when I was a kid and it was all the craze to see how many people you could cram into a telephone booth.
What’s a telephone booth? It’s a kind of glass box that people used to step into to make a call when they were away from home. Yes. Really.
The average American house has doubled in size since the 1950’s. What a blessing to have all that extra room! Most of the people of the world live in houses a fraction the size of American homes.
But however small their houses, I don’t remember going to a home in Mexico where they didn’t invite us in and offer us food.
And these were not empty invitations, like we so often give: “We’ve got to get together sometime. I’ll call you.”
They had very little, but they insisted on sharing what they had with us. There’s nothing better in this world than beans and homemade tortillas in Mexico.
[pullquote align=”left”]But most of us consider our homes our private sanctuaries: the place where we can close the doors and escape from the world—in front of our flat screen TVs.[/pullquote]
Sometimes we would have large groups of people with us: church youth groups, or folks from the States wanting to help their southern neighbors. The Mexican women would set us down at their tables and serve us like we were royalty.
Actually, we were. We were sons and daughters of the King, and they treated us like they would have treated Him.They didn’t do this out of their abundance. They did it out of their poverty, and yet it was obvious that they did it with great joy, counting it a privilege.
But it wasn’t just visiting Americans they fed. They fed the poor, also. Their houses were always full of people who had even less than they did. If they had any food at all, they were willing to share it.
There’s a saying in Mexico: Mi casa es su casa. My house is your house.
In America, I fear the saying might be—my house is my house.
God sees it all, and He has something to say about it.
I Peter 4:9 Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ’s body. And in each instance do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him). Amplified
How often do you see this in today’s world? Not often, I fear.
Remember Matthew 25 from Chapter 1? Whatever we do unto the least of Jesus’ brothers, we do it unto Him.
But most of us consider our homes our private sanctuaries: the place where we can close the doors and escape from the world—in front of our flat screen TVs.
Yes, we’ll have relatives over, although we often do even that grudgingly.
We’ll have the occasional dinner party, which usually ends up giving us heartburn, since the house has to be perfect, the food exotic, the guest list carefully planned—no inviting Aunt Bessie and Cousin June to the same party.
But how often do we open our homes to people who really need a place to stay for the night? Or ask people to share a meal, who are unable to reciprocate?
Luke 14:12-14 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” NIV
YOU WILL BE REPAID. God’s good for it, and He will reward us at the resurrection. I’ll take that over a huge, empty house any day.
Remember our first chapter? The one about the sheep and the goats? Jesus told both that whatever they did to the least of His brethren, they did it to Him.
Would you invite Jesus to stay at your house if he had no place to go?
If He came by, would you ask Him if He had eaten and offer to fix Him a sandwich, or make Him a meal? Of course, you would.
Have you ever been asked to house a visiting missionary? A youth group ministering at your church? Have you ever opened your home to someone in need of temporary housing? What about people who have no family? Ever invited a stranger for Thanksgiving dinner?
Remember what the scripture said. “ . . . they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Besides getting rewards in Heaven, you’ll make great friends down here. Take my word for it.
My next post will be written by my four children. You may think having to give up their beds about a third of the time would have left them scarred for life, but just the opposite is true. Their childhood experiences with hospitality have shaped their lives in very positive ways. They’ll be telling it from the kid point of few. Don’t miss it.
At the end of each post, I’m including a funny story about our experiences. This one involves naked people and needing to pee. Click on the LOL story below to hear all about it.
Also, I’m sharing a “cooking for a crowd” recipe for dinner and dessert, and a helpful hint. Since we’re talking about Mexico, I’m giving you a great recipe for chicken enchiladas and Jello cake. Yummy.