Today’s Scripture Selection: Matthew 25:35-36

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

The world is an odd mix of beauty and ugliness; comfort and need; health and disease; peace and war; love and hate.

We find that we need to stay on our guard much of the time.  There are plenty of people who would do us harm if given half a chance.  There are many situations in which must be aware and careful.

This is why Scripture talks about being wise and serpents and innocent as doves at the same time.

So it is no surprise that when you think about inviting strangers into your space – well, it may give you pause – at the very least.

The daily news reports remind us of just how dangerous our world can be.

But, too often I see people keeping up their guard a little too much.

Too often, I find myself keeping up my guard a little too much.

As the people of God; Christ-followers we need to watch that.

We need to be an inviting, welcoming people.  We need to put our snap judgments on hold.

We need to open our doors and our minds and our hearts.

Does it mean we say “anything goes” and never set healthy boundaries?  No.

But it does mean that we allow others to be invited in where they can be received with a welcoming attitude.

In short, it means to love as we have been loved – warts and all.

Prayer: Lord, open my heart to invite others to experience your grace.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: