Last Thursday was cold and drizzly. I was enjoying a relaxing evening on the couch. When suddenly Durango jumped straight up from a dead sleep into full alert. He was inconsolable so I entertained his paranoia and opened the front door to look. My eyes scanned the darkness and nothing unusual stood out.
Durango’s bay erupted behind me now facing the back door. I closed the front door and spun around. As I let him out of the back door I saw what had caught his attention. A pitiful looking hound dog. It was malnourished and looked absolutely miserable. This stray had the sweetest temperament and I feared it would not make it through the night. I gave it a bowl of food and some fresh water.
Friday morning arrived and I decided that if that dog was still around I would try to see how it would like the backyard. That stray didn’t appear again until Saturday morning, but now it has been residing in our back yard almost a week.
In our youth ministry we have been discussing being Good News to our Neighborhood. As I prepared to speak about Boaz and how he cared for the needs of those in his community I couldn’t help, but think back to this dog. So many people I have talked to since last Thursday have told me stories of a time they took in a stray animal. And all of this triggered a question”When was the last time any of us took in a stray person?”
I am stretching the term stray here. I don’t just mean inviting someone who doesn’t have a home to live with you. There are stray people all around us. Individuals that have needs which are not being met and who have no power to be able to change that. There are those around us who are going without enough food, shelter, clothes all the time. Even more there are many around us who are not getting enough grace, compassion, patience, attention, and unconditional love. There are lots of lonely people. There are a lot of desperate people.
We are all a stray people wondering through this life searching for the ultimate rest. The rest we will find in God alone. And so for this reason we must keep our eyes alert and our hearts open to take in stray person after stray person. Not out of superiority, but because we too are stray. And together we strays can travel home.
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