One “Christian” and One Christian
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:1-2)
It was the evening of August 27th in Southeast Texas. I was tagged in a message seeking assistance for a Texas State Trooper, and brother in Christ, who needed a place to stay for the evening. Hurricane Harvey had been pounding the area. Flood waters were rising and raging everywhere. It was a time of crisis and chaos and this State Trooper had been called in from Beaumont to Houston, but there was only one problem… the roads were impassable. He had tried for hours to get to Houston, but there was just no way. The rain was still coming down in buckets (not droplets) and he needed a place to take shelter, maybe get a hot shower, and find rest on a couch somewhere before trying again the next day. It was dark, it was stormy, it was treacherous. He was merely asking for a little help.
He had gotten as far as about Anahuac, TX (halfway between Beaumont and Houston). That was as far as he could go. I didn’t have a lot of contacts in Anahuac so I called the next closest place I knew which was Baytown. There were several folks willing to offer their home in Baytown, but only one problem… the roads were impassable. People’s homes were flooded and the people’s homes that weren’t flooded had water up to their yards or doors with their streets submerged by feet of water, no inches. But, a brother in Baytown had a contact for a brother in Anahuac and so I called him up to seek assistance. There was only one problem… his desire to help was impassable.
When I talked to this brother on the phone I knew he did not know me. So I started by telling him about the need. Who the state trooper was, that he was a brother in Christ, that we were needing a place for him to stay for the night. He seemed very guarded. I tried to relate to him other brothers I knew. I gave information after information that should have made clear 1) I am a Christian, and 2) The brother in need was a Christian. I gave details that no scammer could possibly know, nor info someone seeking to do harm might give. But at every pass his answer was “I can’t help.” Not, “let me see what I can do”, not “let me call a few of our brethren and see if they might be able to help”, not “let me give you some numbers of some other people or places to try”, just… “I can’t help.” At one point, he even thought I might be looking for a job! And I told him straight, “No sir. I am a Christian, and I am trying to help a State Trooper that is also a Christian find a safe place to stay for the night.” “No. I can’t help.” The threshold to his door, in this hour of need, was as impassable as the threshold to his heart. This “Christian”… could (or would) not help. Moving on.
I decided to abandon the specific call to brethren and just put out a generic plea on FB myself to anyone in the area who might be able to help. Within seconds, I had all sorts of responses to open up their door to this State Trooper - and from “non-Christians”. And most of these people I didn't know. They were simply friends of friends of friends that I had. Unfortunately though, many of them the trooper was still not able to get to. But then I found them.
I got the call from a Christian family close by to Anahuac. They said, “Send him on over, and any others that need a place to stay as well. We have space.” (And even if they didn’t, I guarantee you they would have made space.) In fairness, they did know me, but they did not know this trooper; but knowing these fine brethren I know they would’ve helped even if they hadn’t known me. Because I know they are not “Christians”; but instead, they are Christians. The love in their souls compels them to serve, compels them to open up their hearts, compels them to open up their doors. Finally, this brother in Christ, this State Trooper, found a place where the roads were passable. Not just the roads to a house, but the roads to genuine Christian love.
Are you a “Christian”, or are you a Christian? If you had gotten that phone call would you be willing to open up your home, or at least try to help them find a place? It’s not about “entertaining angels”, it’s about you being an angel to someone else, someone in need. It’s about you being a Christian that actually honors Christ. (Matthew 25:31-46) The test of your Christianity will come. Maybe in a phone call, maybe in the midst of crisis and chaos, but assuredly in the judgement. I hope and pray that you are making yourself ready.