He wears worn and tattered clothes
Has yellow teeth
Messy, dirty and straggly hair
He reeks like he hasn’t had a bath in weeks
I put out my hand
He shakes it
He smiles back
I invite him into our church
Some welcome the visitor
Others shun him
He is different, but is he really?
If you hurt him he feels it
If you turn him away, he feels the inner pain
Our pastor is giving a sermon about loving others
Those who appear to be different
But all of us share a common thing
We are human
No one better than the other
Seekers of what it means to love
What it means to give love
What it means to receive love
What it means to be Christ’s hands of compassion
What it means to be taught in the seminary of compassion
What it means to care without expectation of reward
Those quiet acts of the heart not witnessed
An encouraging word
A listening ear
A cup of coffee shared
But they are seen by God
Do we welcome this strange visitor or turn him away?
What would be your reaction?
What would be your response?
Would you love or hate him?
Would you embrace him?
Will you allow him to teach you Christ’s lesson to His followers?
Love one another as I have loved you
And then these three remain
But the greatest of these is
The stranger goes forward
I go and kneel with him
He speaks of his life
The death of his wife from breast cancer
Shouting at God
All these things cause him to be fired
He loses his home
His three children are adopted
Turns to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain
He says, “I’m a failure as a man.”
I say, “No one is a failure in God’s eyes.”
I tell him he is so loved Christ would have died for him
if he was the only person on the earth
He could never be hated by God
The visitor cries
Says, “Here I am, Lord.
I give my anger and rebellion to You.”
We rejoice together
The visitor is a stranger no longer
He has come home
Kevin Osborne is training to become a psychotherapist, priest and chaplain through St. James the Elder University in Jacksonville, Florida. He and his wife, Karen, plan to open a counselling practice. Karen is taking graduate divinity studies at Trinity College in the University of Toronto. Kevin is planning on taking additional graduate studies there. He is a member of The Word Guild, a Christian writer’s group in Canada.
Our greatest calling is to be servants of our Lord wherever He calls us to go.