With each swallow, the pain intensified. My burning throat and body aches attacked my day until I finally waved the white flag of surrender. Canceling an appointment, I crawled into bed. I pulled the covers over my head and started feeling sorry for myself.
I. Was. Done.
I laid there for 24 hours, and then it happened. It was one simple act of kindness, and it changed my entire day and attitude. It was carried into my kitchen and placed on my sticky farm table. It said, “You are loved; I see you hurting, and I care.” It came in the shape of warm, homemade chicken noodle soup, and a box of my favorite crackers.
Honestly, I believed it to be the best chicken noodle soup; EVER. It was as if the arms of Christ himself wrapped around me with love and perfection. Was I still sick? Yes. Did I feel encouraged? Absolutely! Did my friend know how much she meant to me? Probably, not. However, friends, this happened nearly six years ago, and I think of it often. It still brings a smile to my face.
Matthew 25:35-40 (ESV) reads, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ ”
God tells his people to “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13 (NIV) As we are obedient, the world sees the love of the Father. “They will know we are Christians by our Love.” John 13:35 (NIV) We become His hands and feet in a hurting world. He uses us to give encouragement, comfort, and spread His love. Christian hospitality is a step of obedience that brings blessings to others.
My friend will never know how much she encouraged me. She practiced the gift of hospitality, and I felt the love of Christ. I believe one day she will hear Him say, “I was sick and you visited me, I felt weak and you gave me chicken noodle soup and my favorite crackers. I was buried under my covers and your simple act spoke love into me.” What a joyful moment that will be for her in heaven. What a gift she is to me on earth!
Sweet friend, who can you bless today? It may be a smile, a text, a prayer, or homemade chicken noodle soup. Let’s be the hands and feet of our Lord.
(Story inspired by true events. Some details have been adjusted.)
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