“He answered: “Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”” Luke 10:27
“Someone got fired. I have to go in to work tonight.” The words frustrated me as my son was trying to be responsible in his position. “School starts tomorrow.” I said bitterly. “I want you home.”
Saying he’d be home around nine-thirty, I held my tongue. The last thing I wanted to do was start an argument on an evening where a good rest would be beneficial to starting the school year brightly.
I sulked, but tried to move on missing the days we had family game nights the night before school began to break the new school year jitters. My husband and I prayed over and said good night to our daughter when the phone rang again.
My husband answered to hear, “Dad, don’t be mad. Just listen first. I know you might say “no”, but I need to ask. One of my co-workers didn’t show for work, because his mom packed up today and moved to another state leaving him behind. Apparently, they had an argument. He has no car and nowhere to stay. He is a good guy. Can I offer for him to stay with us?”
After a pause to check in with each other and the Holy Spirit, we said, “Yes, he can stay with us for tonight. Then tomorrow we will evaluate what needs to be done.”
I’d met the kid once. Kid, I guess now at eighteen he is considered an adult. And although I didn’t know the complete story of what happened, my heart ached. But with that ache came the realization that having a stranger stay in our home could put the rest of us in jeopardy of getting hurt.
Where is the line between safety and living a life that reflects the compassion of Christ? It’s a difficult question to answer. I also struggle with the idea that following Christ isn’t necessarily about living safe, it can be about being willing to suffer for someone else in order to bring God glory. I don’t, however, believe God called us to live stupid either.
We prayed and prepared the space for our guest to sleep.
When my son walked in the door twenty minutes later, I looked at the young man with him. He looked worn down, tired and discouraged as he carried a back pack with his belongings. We showed him his space, gave him a towel in case he wanted a shower and asked if he’d like something to eat.
Then we all retired.
Although the night was calm and safety did exist throughout the house, my rest was anything but peaceful. I stayed awake listening for sounds making sure everything was ok. My fears taunted me as I checked on my daughter’s room several times and jumped at every sound of potential movement. Around two o’clock I got down on my face to pray for the young man, his future, his mom, my family and submitted my fears to Jesus.
Christ gave the example of how we are supposed to help others in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), going out of our way to make a difference even when it is at a cost or an inconvenience. That concept though is so difficult, especially if there is the potential of danger.
We woke in the morning to the oddest first day of school. We had our morning devotional, invited our guest to eat banana muffins and fresh fruit with us, took pictures of my son and daughter in their “first day of school year” outfits, prayed, and sent our guest with my son and a bagged lunch to meet up with a friend he had contacted during the night.
I have no idea whether or not I will ever see him again or if we really made any difference to this young man, other than a place to rest his head for the night. While I’ll admit I was exhausted from my active imagination and fears, I have no regret staying awake so long listening for movement in our home. Neither do I regret helping him. After speaking to him in the morning and getting to know him better, I definitely understood better why we felt compelled to take a chance on him and be Good Samaritans. He was worth the cost of my restless night. He was worth so much more.