April 13, 2012
"I was a stranger and you invited me in ..." Matthew 25:35 (NIV 1984)
After five years of living in our house, my husband finally agreed we needed curtains on the windows. Not to block the view, but to enhance it. (That is a breakthrough, right there.)
Deciding on just the right thing, at just the right sale price, was a challenge. In the span of a week I put up rods, ironed drapes, switched them out and took them down. The gals in the drapery department at the local store knew me by my first name.
The last place I planned to be was at the mall, exchanging curtains, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. But there I was, ringing out at the register.
And there she was, Vivian. She breathlessly approached the counter asking to use the phone. It seemed this young girl had been dropped off to go to work and discovered she wasn't scheduled. She needed to find someone to pick her up.
That's when I felt a familiar knock on my heart. Actually, it was pounding pretty good. I knew when I felt that it meant God had an interruption planned.
"Do you need a ride?" I asked. All activity stopped. She looked at me quizzically. The cashier waited to see what would happen next. Vivian cocked her head to the side in disbelief and replied, "Uh, yes."
"I'm leaving; I'll take you," came out of my mouth.
Can I just say that was not on my agenda? My list was probably like yours, a mile long with things that needed to be done before the end of the day. But the truths of Matthew 25 resonated within me. I knew God asked me to be on the lookout for strangers to invite in: into my home, into my church and it appeared, into my routine.
I discovered a little bit about my new friend during our ride. She has seven siblings. Because of her mom's drug abuse, five were adopted out of the family six years ago, leaving just her and her brother. No one wants 13 and 14 year olds she explained. Her decisions thereafter took her down some wrong roads.
We talked about church and she said she'd been a few times, but didn't go now.
"Vivian, God put us together on purpose today. He has a plan for your life. You didn't expect to run into me and I didn't expect to run into you, yet here we are. Unusual, don't you think?"
She agreed. "Yes. In today's world, no one takes a chance on anyone. I couldn't believe you offered me a ride."
I asked about her past and her hopes for the future. In twenty minutes we bonded. "Are you working Sunday?" I asked.
"No, I'm off," she replied.
"I'll pick you up for church if you want to go with us." She said she thought that would be great!
I got out of the car and wrapped her in a hug. Then I prayed over her as we stood amazed at how quickly we'd connected.
Looking back, I'm thankful for interruptions; some of the most memorable moments have been unexpected. God wants to interrupt us for His purposes, inviting Him and others into our lives in unexpected ways.
Dear Lord, please open my heart, my eyes, and my routine to Your divine interruptions. May it be said of me, I'm a woman who invited You in. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Will you pray about inviting a Compassion International child into your heart?
Reflect and Respond:
"The ultimate rich man, Jesus Christ, became poor for you. That means that we ought to be deeply involved in the lives of broken people in this city. And it means not just giving your charity, giving your money, though that's very important. But it means giving your time, giving your relationship ..." ~Tim Keller
Look for ways God is interrupting you today. Who can you 'invite in'?
Proverbs 16:9, "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." (ESV)
Matthew 25:35-40, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'" (ESV)
© 2012 by Luann Prater. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 13 April 2012.