I was reading an article about hospitality from a Biblical perspective...don't invite those who can repay but those who do not have the means. The author spoke of inviting strangers in need into their home for a meal, maybe even a shower. Could you do it? Would you do it? It's what God calls us to do, but it feels so unsafe and risky.
We had a friend at seminary who would routinely give rides, cash and yes, even the shirt off his back to people who came knocking on his door for aid. I remember thinking he was generous...to a fault. I mean, what if he drove off with one of these people and never returned?! It scared me. But I think it also convicted me...because I knew I would not do the same. I covered my shame and my own selfishness with excuses.
In Luke 6:30, Jesus says, "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back." Not really the modern viewpoint, is it? Pretty radical way to live life today...but I imagine it would be freeing. If I could get over the fear of what might happen tomorrow or next week or next year...if I didn't worry about storing up my treasures here on Earth for a rainy day and stay safe in my antiseptic little bubble.
I think the first step is stepping out of my comfort zone and looking outside myself, my fears, worries and needs. It doesn't have to be as big as inviting a stranger in for a shower. Maybe it's a kind or supportive word to a harried stranger in the store, maybe it's paying for the person behind me in line, maybe it's donating shoes for Haiti...maybe it's anything that would show care for another's well-being.
It's another opportunity to take baby steps in the right direction...toward a kinder, gentler and more loving world. Whether that kindness comes back is really not the point, is it? That's what our friend taught me.