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 17:12'15 WEB.

Once when a pastor/mentor of mine made his regular trip to the local diner to get food for his family, a strange man was outside the restaurant dressed in ragged clothes. Now, this was years ago in a small town in the country where everyone knew everyone else, Loris, South Carolina. Seeing strangers was a rare sight. The 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.

The 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 was at the cash register, and he looked Pastor over slowly and said: "You're the one that pastors that church up there, ain't ya?" He waited a minute, waved his hand, and said: "There's no charge."

The Pastor thanked him and left. He often visited the diner, as there were only a couple in town back then. The next time he ordered, it was the same thing: "No charge." That was now over twenty-five years ago, and his meals there have been free ever since.

We have eaten there ourselves, and the Pastor was a dear friend of ours. The employees just wave him through the line. He doesn't even pull out his wallet anymore but just thanks them and takes the bag. Oh, 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 this particular man was an angel. Still, apparently, some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Abraham fed three strangers who came by his tent, and it turned out to be the Lord and two angels with Him (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 to her was 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 don't have to give. That's our choice to make, and if we choose not to, God will just pick someone else to receive what He wanted to provide us with. Just know that God may place a stranger in front of you in need just to see what you will do about it. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

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

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