Entertaining Angels and the Least of These
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"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" Matthew 25: 31-39
Yesterday while my car was being worked on, my husband and I walked next door the Burger King to have lunch. There were no other customers eating in at the time, as it was about 2 pm on a Friday afternoon. As we were finishing up, a couple came across the parking lot holding hands. He was smoking a cigarette that he threw into the parking lot before they came in. We were near the back door, at the 2nd table, and he sat behind us. He smelled bad. My husband said quietly to me, "why, with all the empty seats, do they have to sit here? I said I did not know (although now I do). While she went to the counter, he began talking loudly on a cell phone about how he has seizures and how he had two that very day and about multiple trips to the emergency room , where they did not care very much that he was in need of medication (dilantin) that he could not afford. My husband has nocturnal seizures and takes Dilantin as well, so our ears perked up at this and we exchanged glances.
Then he began to speak about her blood pressure and how high it was and how she could suffer a stroke or heart attack at any time and no one seemed to care about that either and how uncaring social services seemed to be in Virginia as opposed to some other place he either did not name or I did not hear in my attempt to finish my food and get away, back into my comfort zone. After all, what did it have to do with me? But what about it DID NOT have to do with me, someone claiming to bear the name and nature of Christ and praying to God to be like Him? He ended his conversation with a "God bless you" and hung up. We finished our food, dumped our trash, while I tried to dump the prompting of the Holy Spirit with my paper cup and plastic plate, left over from a meal graciously provided by God - what do I have that I do not owe to His provision - and prepared to leave.
As I walked past them towards the door, and she looked into my face with an expression that was not hostile, but perhaps mildly accusing, although that sounds strange to say now, but with regards to the timing, is a nearly perfect depiction of the emotion on her face - are you going to walk by me without a glance or care, looking down your nose at me because of the way I look, because I am old and dirty? Are you? Can you? The Lord gently took my hand, and laid it on her shoulder and I turned from the door, to look in their faces and say, can I pray for you? They said yes. I put down my cup and picked up their hands, one set dirty, one set swollen and red - my flesh was silent, my spirit spoke a prayer for angels to go before and flesh and blood to come alongside, not with callousness or even pretty words, but real help for their needs. I said amen, they said it too. They thanked me. I left, grateful that I did not quench the Holy Spirit even though I wanted to. My flesh wanted to retreat. My spirit held sway for once. I was glad I accepted such an honor and a privilege that the Lord provided me with, to do something that required no real sacrifice, to the least of these, the overlooked.
Today as I prayed and talked with God, I began to thank Him for the privilege, the opportunity to do for someone other than myself and I began to cry and to think about Jesus - would He has walked out the door? What about Peter and John and the beggar by the gate called beautiful? Did they pretend not to see him, like all the rest? All the so-called saints? Who went every day to worship God and leave him outside in the street without even a kind word? Would they? Did they? No, they gave what they had, what they had received as a gift as well, healing, physical AND spiritual for the beggar, the salvation of their very souls, lost in sin and without hope of reconciliation with God, for them. As God has done for me, the least of these in my own way, and given the gift of life through Jesus, I am now to do unto others, not so that I can brag, but so that I can work for God as He has asked me to do, asked us all to do really, and be His hands and feet, to give back a measure of what He has given. James said faith without works is dead. God forgives us for the times we fail, even as He so richly blesses us when we are obedient. Today as I cried and thanked the Lord for allowing me to minister to the least, I wondered, were they angels after all?
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