“I was a stranger and you welcomed me…….”
“That you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints…….”
“The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all……..”
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house…….”
It was only a simple little sign that said, “Welcome.” My Aunt had tacked it up close to the place we’d park so we would be sure to see it when we came in. To really see that sign for what it was, you would have to understand the million painful steps of grief and stress it took to get there. The welcome behind that little sign said it all…….It meant finding a place of peace for a few short days. It meant, I am glad to have you here….you are wanted, appreciated. You are safe.
When you give someone a welcome, you have no way of knowing how great that impact will be. Or maybe you do.
You never know what someone is facing, where they are on their journey or how far that journey has taken them. To someone, your welcome might mean that they can keep going on, that it’s worth it….that they are worth it.
And just maybe, our welcome is their last hope.
Welcome in our eyes, welcome with open arms, welcome with words of softness.
Being welcomed is like coming in out of the cold and led to a crackling fire and a steaming mug of something to wrap your hands around.
Being made to feel unwelcome is like being cast out into a raging storm. It can be the loneliest feeling in the world.
There is a world of people out there who are scarred and hurting from past rejection. They have learned not to trust, yet they really want to. And everytime we are kind, we are participants in healing over those old scars. And really, don’t we all need some healing?
I will never forget the sting I felt when I was at a family gathering long ago. The mother couldn’t remember my name and referred to me as “What’s her name….” then they proceeded to go off to a different place and put their chairs in a circle. It was one of the strangest things I have ever experienced. I never want to make anyone feel like I felt that day.
And yet I know at times that I have…….God still has a lot of work to do on me.
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.’ Matthew 25:40