The Uninvited Guest
We had just finished our Thanksgiving feast when there came a knock at
the door. My family was in Indiana visiting relatives for the holiday,
and I ran from the dinner table to answer the door. Swinging open the
door, I found a woman wearing a big old threadbare coat with a raggedy
scarf. Her gloves were mismatched and her hat had a hole in it. Her skin
was scaly and dry, and her eyes drooped, and her wrinkled mouth spoke.
"I know your grandmother," she said. "Is she here?"
"No, she isn't," I answered.
"Last summer I did some yard work for her, and she paid me," the woman
announced. "I'm homeless, and I'm very hungry. Do you have any spare money?"
"Please come in and wait here," I suggested. Leaving her at the front
door, I sprinted to the bedroom and grabbed my purse. I returned to hand
her a $10 bill. Tears streamed down her face as she hugged me.
"Thank you," she mumbled. While I was wrapped in her arms, the memory of
a recent sermon flashed through my mind. At a camp meeting one of the
speakers disguised himself as a beggar and mingled with the camp meeting
staff during the course of the week. Because he was painful to see and
offensive to smell, the attendants mistreated the beggar and fled from
his odor. Revealing himself at the end of the week, the speaker preached
a sermon based on Matthew 25:34, 35: "Then the King will say to those on
His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom
prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and
you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger
and you took Me in'" (NKJV).
Seeing the old woman as my opportunity to do something for my Lord, I
excitedly offered her some of our recent meal. We still had a whole
table spread with food, and she had none. Leading her into the kitchen,
where my relatives still lounged lazily with full bellies, I seated her
at the table and began preparing her plate.
"Do you like potatoes?" I asked. "Would you like a roll? One or two?" As
I worked I noticed the room emptying. One by one my relatives slipped
into the living room. Soon my guest and I were the only ones in the kitchen.
Wanting her to feel comfortable, I began to ask her questions to get to
know her. "What's your name? Where are you from? What was your last job?
Where is your family? Do you like pumpkin pie?" We talked while she ate.
When she finished, she stood up, put on her old coat, hat, scarf, and
mismatched gloves. "Thank you so very much. I haven't eaten in days.
Thank you. My father used to say that when he was a child he could
remember being so hungry that he couldn't see. I didn't understand that
until I was much older. Thank you for returning my sight."
I ushered the woman to the door and waved goodbye. Closing the door, I
turned to face my family, turned jury. The verdict was guilty. "How
could you do that?" asked my aunt. "She could have been a scout for
robbers!" screeched a cousin. "This neighborhood isn't what it used to
be!" added my older sister. "You don't let strangers into your
grandmother's home!" joined in another relative. The inquisition
continued until tears streamed down my face and I fled from the room.
Exactly one year later, Thanksgiving found us again celebrating in my
grandmother's home. After another banquet my sister Kay and I stood at
the sink washing dishes. "Do you remember the homeless woman who came to
our house last year, Mary?" asked Kay.
"Yes," was all I said, not wanting to dredge up terrible memories.
"Wouldn't it be funny if she came again?"
No, I thought to myself. It wouldn't be funny, not at all. Minutes
later, from the kitchen window, we spotted this same woman returning to
our house. This time, instead of running to the front door, I ran into
the bedroom to hide. I didn't want the woman to see me, and I wasn't
willing to risk my family's anger again by helping her.
Instead, Kay answered the door. "Hello. No, I'm sorry, but we don't have
any money. Goodbye."
Time of Trouble?
Nine years have passed, but I still vividly remember that Thanksgiving
Day when my family's reproaches overcame my desire to serve God by
helping that poor woman.
In my first encounter with the woman I energetically reacted to the
message of a recent sermon. But rather than face the family jury again,
I hid instead of helping her. My experience withered like the plants in
Jesus' parable of the seed and the soil (Matt. 13:3-9) because the roots
weren't deep enough.
A time will come when all our roots will be tested. Jesus described the
persecution of the end of time: "But before all these things, they will
lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the
synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for
My name's sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for
testimony" (Luke 21:12,13, NKJV).
When we are tested, will we stand up for what is right or shrink from
potential pain? Will our beliefs have strong roots or shallow? Let's
prepare our hearts to be fertile ground with deep roots. Let's be ready
to stand up for life's uninvited guests.
Mary Mullins, a former student missionary in South Korea, now lives in
Lincoln, Nebraska. She hopes to pursue a career in international
[ By Mary Mullins, Source: Adventist Review -- Submitted by Nancy Simpson, via 'WIT and WISDOM' ]
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