Friday, August 10, 2012

Entertaining Strangers

Bum ??

Matthew 25:40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

The year was 1936 when we moved to Oakland and lived in the rent house on 97th avenue. 

My Dad had just started working at the Southern Pacific Railroad as a switchman, and because of his seniority he often had to work swing and midnight shifts.   Because of this he frequently was home when I returned from kindergarten.

The Great Depression was weakening, but many Americans were still poverty stricken.  Our family had been counted in the poverty class prior to my Uncle Clarence helping my dad get work at the railroad.  We were still struggling but we never went hungry.

It must have been ironing day, because a big pot of beans was on the stove and my mother was removing a pan of corn bread from the oven.

Suddenly there was a loud knock on our back door.  My Mother had just served Dad with a large plate of beans and was cutting the cornbread, so Dad answered the door.

There stood a man dressed in a suit looking fairly clean.  His words stumbled almost ashamedly as he asked if there was any work he could do for a bit of food. 

My dad opened the door and invited him in and asked mother to set another plate on the table.  Dad told him that he did not need to work for his meal and he was a welcomed guest at our table.  He was truly hungry because he eagerly devoured the beans and corn bread.  

I sat in the corner on the floor, with my eyes open big as saucers, and was taking it all in.

Apparently the gentleman had been a business man who was down on his luck and had been riding the freight train that ran a block from our house.  He was hoping to reach his home up north and get a job where his mother lived. 

Dad told him that we could not offer him any money, but we would pray that his luck would change and that God would help him find work.

The man was sincerely grateful and repeatedly thanked mother and dad for the wonderful but simple meal and the prayer.

The Bible tells us that when we meet a stranger in need and we are moved to supply them with what they are lacking at the moment - - that we may have entertained angels unawares.  Another verse says we do this as unto the Lord.

Whether this gentleman was an angel or not I will never know, but I do know that Dad and Mother passed the test that day.

This post was shared at Michelle Derusha’s Graceful Summer 

 This post is also shared with Charlotte’s Spiritual Sundays


  1. I remember this story, I love it. To do the right thing is inconvenient sometimes... but it sure pays dividends down the road. It's clear where your heart was inherited from. That's a gift from God.

  2. "It has gotten harder to help the homeless because of the dangers in doing so. I trust my husbands judgement, so he has the say, but I seem to be the one asking. Bless them Lord"
    Vicki K

  3. bless you mother and father's heart. Angel or not, they did it for God and with their compassionate hearts.

  4. I love this story, Hazel. Thank you for a glimpse into your parent's Christianity. Doers of The Word. And you take after them.

    In need of a few minor repairs in my home, I searched out a handyman. As one out of work, we've kept him busy for weeks now with projects I wouldn't have done at this time. But, I know it is helping him.

    That's what this life is about, isn't it. Doing unto others...

  5. I blessed to be able to read this. "He who has done it to the least of these, have done it unto me." Freely giving is a blessing of life. What special parents!

  6. My dad, in northern Oregon, as a teen began taking the trains, usually between the Portland and Tacoma areas where he had relatives. To have been in a home like yours maybe real seed would have been planted in his heart. I've read similar stories in The Hiding Place and God's Smuggler. The parents had little food available, any yet they shared it with anyone who came to their door. So, you observed a truly world-wide blessing. Love it!


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