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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Tuesday, September 15

Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
—Romans 12:13

We are sometimes parsimonious or selective in our giving. It’s natural, almost easy, to care for the needs of those who are closest to us, those who have already captured the love of our heart. We are already open to them because of our love for them.

We also feel comfortable giving to those we know because we have already built a bond of trust with them. There’s less at stake when we give to them. We have less to risk, less to lose.  We know that the relationship we share with them will serve as a bulwark of safety around us. 

We are more reluctant to give to strangers. We have less desire to gather them up and plant them in our heart where they can receive the same gifts and care that we give to those we know and love.  Strangers may be intriguing or fascinating—they may raise our curiosity—but we are circumspect about our level of intimacy and giving because their character and patterns are unknown to us.

We feel as vulnerable as if we have left our car unlocked in an area frequented by car thieves. The hospitality that we do offer is often structured and measured. We want to test their faithfulness before we risk everything with them. When we extend hospitality to strangers, we may be uneasy with fear, our adrenalin may flow, and our senses may be on high alert.

Yet, surprisingly, even in this highly charged emotional state, our soul will pump with expectation. There will be a stream of hope careening through our spirit as we see ourselves overcoming our fear.

We may just find that the stranger is not an enemy, but a friend.

Gracious God, let my heart be open to give to all who ask, whether they be friend or stranger, companion or foe. I ask this for the sake of your love.