The Man at the Door

The church crowd slowly trickled their way into the reception hall early Friday evening. Red tablecloths and American flags decorated the large round tables, all set for the night’s festivities. The spicy aroma of seasoned tacos spread across the room and out into the hall. As the guests waited for the dinner line to open, they greeted each other with firm handshakes and warm hugs, chatting about the week’s events and the weekend’s plans.

When the dinner line opened, they quickly stacked their plates, filled their paper cups with sweet tea, and sat down to eat. Discussions of religion, family, and life events kept each other engaged in conversation; which is why no one noticed the man at the door.

The dirty, ragged clothes hung loosely on his wrinkled, weather-exposed skin. His thinning hair and overgrown beard flared out from lack of grooming. It was easy to see that he was an outsider – a stark opposite of the neatly groomed traditional Baptist men already seated about the room. At first he just stood in the doorway with his hands in his pockets, straining his neck to look into the kitchen. The smell had brought him in, and to an empty stomach, it was an aroma that could soothe pain and bring a little comfort. His eyes darted about the room, contemplating whether to ask for a little something to eat or to just turn around and leave. He hated to intrude on the lovely party, but the pangs in his stomach could not allow him to walk away. So, he just stood and waited…

Soon, one of the ladies noticed this man, walked over to him, and began to ask him questions. A few minutes later, she left him in the doorway and went to talk to another lady, who glanced in the man’s direction. One of the women went to the little money collection table and quickly began moving the accumulated cash donations and purses that were near the entrance; the other disappeared into the kitchen. And still, he just stood and waited…

until the one woman at the table motioned the man over. While she brought him a chair, the other woman appeared from the kitchen with a large plate of food and nice cold sweet tea.

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, 36I 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? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When 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 25:35 – 40

This is what I witnessed Friday night at a gathering where I was a guest. I cannot stop thanking the Lord for a group of people who truly understand love and compassion. I am touched and blessed. It reminds me of another church where quite the opposite happened…I will share that story tomorrow.

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