The theme for Alliance Women is Belong, coming from Matthew 25:35, “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.”
If we aren’t careful, we might misunderstand this scripture. At first glance, it seems to say to us that we are the strangers that God invited into his Kingdom. And though this is true, that’s not what this verse is describing. In the midst of Jesus talking to his disciples about the end of the age and the Kingdom of Heaven, he tells them that when he returns, he will separate the people from each other in judgment. He then goes on to say that he was the stranger that was invited in. He was the stranger that was given food and water when he needed it. It was not us that were strangers to God, but rather God was a stranger to us and those who chose to serve the strangers around them in turn served Him ultimately. It is to say that the righteous do the work of God to all people, whether they are familiar or strangers to them.
It was not us that were strangers to God, but rather God was a stranger to us and those who chose to serve the strangers around them in turn served Him ultimately.
When was the last time you invited a complete stranger into your home? When I think about the last time I invited a stranger into my home, I can’t say I have. I did have an unexpected guest show up at church once. Sadly to say, I got a chance to talk with this lady for 10 minutes before having to ask her to leave because our program was starting and I had things to do. Normally with how society is today, inviting a stranger into your home brings a lot of risks. It could mean inviting danger into your house. Or going beyond our comfort and allowing someone else into our personal life. It could mean pulling back the curtain on how we live and who we really are. There’s a lot of weariness and worry behind that. Inviting a stranger into our home interrupts our comfort and norm and this can be scary and overwhelming. We’ve probably taught or been taught the phrase “stranger danger” and for a good reason. Our culture today teaches us to fear strangers more than how to be wise when approached by one. When I had an uninvited guest show up to church, I will admit, I was afraid at first. One reason being that I had no clue how at risk myself or others could be. I was also afraid because I had plans and having a stranger here put a halt on my plans for a moment.
Instead of inviting people into our homes and being a light to them, we close our doors and stay within our own walls so that we don’t risk any discomfort or change. What God is reminding us in this passage is that when we serve those around us that are strangers to us, we are serving a greater purpose, God’s purpose.
Strangers bring all kinds of unknown circumstances with them. I’m not trying to say go out and find a complete stranger and invite them into your home. Like I said before, we still need to be wise about how we approach this. But many times we all get caught up within our own lives that everybody becomes a stranger to us and we are strangers to them, even within our own church family. Instead of inviting people into our homes and being a light to them, we close our doors and stay within our own walls so that we don’t risk any discomfort or change. What God is reminding us in this passage is that when we serve those around us that are strangers to us, we are serving a greater purpose, God’s purpose. When we begin to serve strangers, those strangers will become less like strangers and more like friends to us. And eventually as we continue to serve more and more strangers around us, we begin to create a place that God desires for His church body to be. A place that they can know and receive the love and knowledge of God. A place where people really do belong because we invited them in to be a part of.
Priscilla Thao is from Denver, Colorado. She graduated from Toccoa Falls College in 2014 with her B.S. in Early Childhood Education. After finishing her undergraduate program, Priscilla moved overseas to China and taught at international schools for 5 years before returning back to the States. Recently, she finished her Masters as a Reading Specialist through Liberty University and is now working as a 1st grade teacher. Priscilla is the second oldest of four siblings. Some things she enjoys doing are baking, crafting, hiking, reading, and going on adventures/traveling. One of her favorite Bible verses is from Luke 22:42, ““Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”