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Bless That Stranger
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Any Bible student will recall the Genesis (chapter 18) story of Abraham entertaining strangers – three men, who were really angels. However, Abraham wasn’t aware they had just flown in from heaven to Mamre’s landing strip. Abraham simply played host to wayfarers who stopped by his tent. He treated them as friends. His wife Sarah set about baking bread while he selected a choice menu for dinner. Thus, due to these angels on a solemn mission, we use the expression “entertaining angels unawares.”

Almost everyone in our life, outside of immediate family, was a stranger to us at one time. Then, we meet that stranger who eventually becomes a friend. What facilitates friendships to spring from chance encounters and new acquaintances? In the case with Abraham, he took the role of servant. He couldn’t do enough to make his guests feel welcome. Abraham literally bowed to his guests every need.

Though two of the three men obviously seemed to be unknown to him, the ensuing recorded conversation leads one to think He knew the one he addressed as lord. Perhaps, it was the Lord God Himself? At least there seemed to be a recognition of this third “man.”

Taking the servant role toward the strangers who come into our lives helps establish new relationships. Or do we have enough friends in our lives that we don’t need any more? Is our lifestyle pushing out new friends?

The Unknown Friend

Years ago, I initiated a daily prayer, “Dear Lord, Bless that stranger I’m to meet who will become my friend.” I use the singular because we all need to be treated individually. When I meet someone new I don’t think of that person as part of a long queue of people I’ve prayed for  -- but as the stranger God gives me as a my friend. Adding, “Thank you, Lord.”

Daily, I await another stranger to enter my life for a friendship to ensue. Anticipation keeps me expectant and ready for whatever God brings my way.

Over the years I’ve been a public speaker. Many people cringe from that role. Yet I found a way to overcome the jitters. I look at the audience and think, these strangers (some may already be friends) are my new friends. If I goof they will understand – and laugh with me. Sometimes during a presentation, I confess that I consider the listeners my friends and that I’ve been praying for them. “Isn’t it nice to finally meet?”  I inquire. Thus, I never feel “nervous” about speaking.

You or I can’t be a best friend to everyone we meet, but we can be open to each one. God didn’t give you that new friend to neglect. Pray for His guidance to keep the friendship growing.

It’s especially rewarding when meeting a new friend if that person also feels our meeting was God-planned. It gives us pause to thank Him. Also, I know that I, like Abraham, have entertained angels. They may not be angels from the heavenly realm but they are earth angels, the best kind of associates until I reach heaven. Only God knows if some of the strangers are indeed heavenly visitors.

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By Betty Kossick. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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