Feature

Angels at My Door

By Anonymous

The ambassador was coming to our remote town, and we had been asked to host him, his wife and a military attaché in our home. We saw the official letter with the embassy logo stating that the ambassador would come.

We were honored to have such an important visitor. Our home was cleaned from top to bottom. The guest rooms were made ready, complete with towels on the beds and magazines on the nightstands. We sprayed to kill the mosquitoes, the living room and bathroom were swept spotless and our boys were reminded not to make any messes. Two small flags were strategically placed. The yard was perfectly manicured, and our dirty green jeep was cleaned in case we needed to drive our guests somewhere.

Two days before the planned visit, someone from the embassy called, thanking us for our hospitality. We canceled appointments and changed our schedules in order to have time to spend with our important guests. We planned things so that we wouldn’t be away from our home for more than a short time in case the ambassador showed up while we were gone.

The morning of their coming, the coffee was ready to brew, and our son helped arrange the fruit plate and napkins for breakfast. One of our helpers made fresh donuts that would still be warm when the ambassador arrived, and the other tidied the porch. We were ready.

We envisioned the interesting talks we would have with the well-read and -traveled man. Our sons asked mid-morning, “When are they coming? It’s taking so long.” They were ready and so were we.

A knock came at the door that morning, and I looked out to see a scruffy villager needing something. I told my helper I couldn’t take the time to talk with him and to send the guy home.

By late morning we got word that their plane had arrived, and they had been whisked off by local officials to an undisclosed location. Several hours later we received news that our guests would soon be heading our way. A telephone call early in the afternoon confirmed that our important guests would be arriving at our house soon. Our anticipation remained high and expectant. We were ready.

We had been ready that morning, at noon and into the afternoon and even as night fell. Our gate remained open, and we listened expectantly to hear the cars pull into our neatly swept driveway any time.

But at nine o’clock that night we concluded the ambassador probably would not be coming. We shut our gate, locked the doors and turned out the lights. What could have happened? After all, we had received phone calls from the embassy and had seen the letter stating that he was coming to visit us. But the ambassador never showed up. He never sat in our cozy, clean front room, sipping fresh coffee and eating our hot donuts. He never rode in our ugly, but clean, jeep. He didn’t sleep on our newly washed sheets or eat pancakes at the breakfast table with us. We had been ready, but the ambassador never came.

As we lay in our beds that night, we reflected on our day, which had been filled with anticipation. We laughed together when we thought of how honored and excited we had been. We talked about how we had been consumed with thoughts of the big moment when the ambassador from our home country would drive up and introduce himself. These plans had taken up all of our thoughts, time and energy.

It was then that I realized why the Lord let us experience this day. I had felt honored that our family had been chosen to receive the ambassador, but then I felt a little shame, too. I realized that I had been excited because his visit would make me feel a little more important, maybe even raise my status.

Would my response be the same if my guest had been a poor villager who had nothing to offer? What if my guest didn’t wear shoes, had dirty, ripped clothes and needed something from me? James 2 says we are not to show favoritism, but I find myself doing it all the time. I often give honor to those from whom I can somehow benefit. May I always give the same honor and respect to all people regardless of their status in society. When the knocks come at the door and I look into the eyes of a visitor, may I always remember that Jesus said that as we receive the poor village farmer, we are receiving Him. It also reads in Hebrews 13:2 that strangers who come to our door may be angels, and I want to treat everyone as if they were.

Tomorrow, when the villagers come to my door, help me, Lord, to remember they could be angels—and I’d rather receive an angel than an ambassador.

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