DAY SEVEN WORD
shall be unto you as one born among you,
and thou shalt love him as thyself;
for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt:
I am the Lord your God.”
Everyone was welcome in our youth center. We originally called it a Teen Drop-In Center, but the needs of the community quickly dictated who our helping hands would serve. The man originally came into the youth center through the doors like everyone else. He didn't speak any English, but it was easy to see he was hungry and tired. We fed him and then he went to sleep on one of the many couches in the game room.
The Youth Center was located in a gang infested, impoverished part of the city. Anything could be stolen at anytime. The man had been given a free phone through a social assistance program. He plugged it in to charge and then went to sleep. When he woke up his phone was gone. This too was a normal sight for children to see, a person angry over something stolen.
He had come to us as a stranger and was treated as family. Someone treated him as a victim and now he looked at all of us as traitors who had abused him. He blamed us for stealing his phone. He would never step foot in our center again. Still, he continued to live in his cardboard box. The girls who worked in our kitchen would make him a plate of food every night and we would take it out to him. He refused to take it, but we would leave it at the edge of his box where he left his shoes.
It was a strange sight to see; his shoes were placed in a manner similar to what one would do upon entering a house and removing their shoes. This was January in Buffalo, NY. The temperature could easily be anywhere between 0 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit. He must have a habit or a memory of an earlier time in his life. Someone must have taught him to remove his shoes upon entering his home. Even though he was living in a cardboard box, he retained his respect for entering a living quarters.
Shifting to a more spiritual look at this story, your living quarters of life is in your heart. Habits, memories, trust, love, brokenness, kindness and things such as these make up the items in your living quarters. This man was a stranger, the girls went the extra mile after the man put a wall around his heart. We know he received some comfort because he ate the food. All we can do is pray that their act of kindness will become like the shoes at the edge of his cardboard box - a memory worth repeating. That would be a ripple effect of going the extra mile. Thanks for your time. Go the extra mile.
DAY SEVEN PRAYER
You show us that we're all strangers
Just sojourning through a temporary place to live.
Our home in this world is short
In comparison to our eternal life with You.
Help us to live and love those who we may consider strange.
Give us wisdom in dangerous situations,
but yet give us the ability to love in all situations.
We will always have strangers among us.
Sometimes we will be the strangers.
Give us the ability to go the extra mile
In showing love to strangers worth repeating.
Ripple our love and let it lead to You.
In Jesus Name.