Many years ago a man came to one of our Sunday evening worship services. He was dressed in a suit and tie and had a distinguished look about him. I tried to speak to him after the service but he quickly made his exit. Over the next several weeks he would come only on Sunday nights and leave as quietly as he arrived. One weekday I was in my office when my secretary told me of a man who needed to see me. In walked the well dressed man. As he sat down his eyes panned the room and after a few minutes of small talk he dropped the bomb on me. “I’m in the federal witness protection program”. He began to tell me his story, I pulled out a pad of paper to take down some notes but he interrupted and said, ’Please don’t do that.” I sat my pen down and just listened. He spoke of his past and the poor decisions he had made. He thanked me for the love our church had shown him. Then he asked, “Now that I am close to God, should I come out of the program and let the chips fall where they may, or continue to move around living in the shadows?”
God gave me clarity in that moment to simply say, “You are one of God’s precious children, whatever your name is. You can live for him while living in the shadows.”
After he left, I began to research what he had told me. Wow! He was not lying.
The next Sunday morning, while in the middle of speaking to a full crowd the back doors opened and there stood my new friend. Not one head turned and looked to see, I’m not sure anyone even noticed. There was the man, his entire look changed, the color of his suit, hair and beard. He saluted me, hugged himself as if to say this is for you, waved and walked out the door.
I’ve never seen or heard from him to this day, but when I think of this event I am reminded of:
Hebrews 13:2 “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”
You may not ever come into contact with someone in hiding, but you will run into people who need a loving touch that comes through you from God. Be loving, gracious and without judgment. You never know who God will bring your way.
Until next time, I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse- Love God, Love people!