Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Lily Of The Valley"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 25:35 – For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me. (AMP)
I remember, as if it were yesterday, attending a Tsimshian wedding. Many years ago, my husband and I travelled up the west coast of Canada, to share the wonderful message of the gospel of the living Christ. For our financial support, we represented over fourteen wholesale companies based in Vancouver, British Columbia. We called upon the many small retail stores tucked away at the end of inlets, or hidden in small communities, forwarding their orders to the various companies to be shipped directly by freight to the stores.
We had just tied up at the Klemtu float on Swindle Island, and I had slipped up to the small local store, alone, no doubt to purchase some candy! When the church bell began to ring, naturally I asked the storekeeper the reason. "It's telling everyone that the wedding is just about to begin, and you are invited." I was amazed! "But I do not know the couple." "But you are invited just the same," continued the storekeeper.
Together, my husband and I attended. We were not dressed in fancy city clothes. It did not matter. We were welcomed, we shared the head table with our very new friends, and we received gifts. Most important of all, we shared the wonderful joy of the occasion.
We were strangers, and we were welcomed and fed. Although our background and our lives were totally different, they accepted us as equals, equal in every respect, to receive their love and friendship. Indeed, how privileged we were — strangers — and yet we were invited to share the most important occasion in two young lives. I do not remember their appearance or their names, but the most important person amongst the guests no doubt was our precious Saviour, and with confidence, we have left them through the years in His care.
Jesus tells us in today's Scripture that when we welcome others in His name, He is welcomed. Strangers become friends, and new members of the family. May God give us grace to welcome others as Christ welcomes us.
Prayer: Our gracious heavenly Father, with joy we remember that Your Son, Christ Jesus, performed His first miracle at a wedding, a time of joy and newness, two lives starting on a new course and a new beginning together. We also remember those who have welcomed us into Your family. Thank You, Father, for Your Son, Christ Jesus, who bids us welcome strangers into Your family. Amen.