The Stranger At The Diner

Elijah said to her, Don't be afraid; go and do as you have said; but make me of it a little cake first, and bring it forth to me, and afterward make for you and for your son. For thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, The jar of meal shall not empty, neither shall the jar of oil fail, until the day that Yahweh sends rain on the earth. She went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, ate many days. 1 Kings 17:12 WEB

Once when a pastor / mentor of mine made his regular trip to the local diner to get food for his family, there was a strange man outside the diner dressed in ragged clothes. Now this was years ago in a small town in the country where everyone knew everyone else, called Loris, South Carolina. Seeing strangers then was a rare sight. Pastor had never seen the man before, but when he got out of his car, the man asked him for money to buy something to eat with.

The pastor looked in his wallet and saw that he only had a twenty dollar bill, just enough to buy the usual food for the family. As he started to close his wallet, he felt the Holy Spirit say: 'You have your checkbook with you. You could buy the food with that.' So he pulled out the twenty dollars and gave it to the stranger.

Pastor then went inside the diner to get his order and when the food was ready, he went to write them a check for it. The owner looked him over slowly and said: 'You're the one that pastors that church up there ain't ya.' He waited a minute and then said: 'There is no charge.'

The pastor thanked him and left. The next time that he visited the diner, it was the same thing: 'No charge.' That was now over twenty-five years ago and he and his family still eat there free every week. We have eaten there ourselves, and the pastor is a dear friend of ours. The employees just wave them through the line. He does not even pull out his wallet anymore, he just thanks them and takes the bag. He never saw the stranger in the ragged clothes again.

Hebrews 13:2 reads: 'Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it.' I am not saying that this man was an angel, but apparently some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Abraham fed three strangers that came by his tent, and it turned out to be the Lord and two angels (Genesis 18:1).

Jesus told us: 'For whoever will give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ's, most assuredly I tell you, he will in no way lose his reward' (Mark 9:41).

Sometimes God sets up a little test for you. The widow in the opening verses had to make Elijah some food first, who was to her just another stranger in need. Jesus said 'Give and it will be given to you.' Action is first required on our part, then there is a reward. Of course we do not have to give. That is our choice to make and if we choose not to, God will just choose someone else to receive what He wanted to give us. Just know that God may place a stranger in front of you in need, just to see what you will do.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me see people as You see them. Give me discernment and speak to me clearly in a way that I understand. Move on my heart and I will obey You, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.

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