7 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. 18 He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. 19 Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:17-19 NKJV
God loves the stranger, the outsider, in our midst. In other translations, “stranger” is also referred to as “sojourner”, someone passing through.
The Lord wants us to remember them as well as the widow and the fatherless, providing them with whatever their needs are – food, clothing, justice or love. He directed the Israelite farmers not to harvest their fields to the very edges or to go over their harvest a second time. These were to be left as gleanings for the poor of the land to harvest for themselves.
I know a woman who always shops for more food than she needs for her family. She then divides it and donates half to a local church food pantry.
A man I knew in Louisiana used to have a blue jean ministry. He was on the road a lot and as he passed through a town, the Lord often stirred his spirit to go into a K-Mart store to buy several pairs of new blue jeans. He would store them up, then from time to time take them all down to a Christian mission on the Texas-Mexico border to give away to those who needed them.
The mission especially appreciated the new blue jeans because, though people may donate good clothing, they rarely donated decent blue jeans. People tend to wear blue jeans until they are worn ragged. So, God led my friend to collect new ones for those who needed them.
My friend told me that one day he felt a stirring to stop at a K-Mart, and just as he arrived in the men’s clothing section, a clerk was putting out a large stack of blue jeans on clearance for $2 apiece! He bought every pair he could and personally delivered them later to the South Texas mission.
On the Mexico side of the border, another ministry I am familiar with, Faith Ministry, has provided wonderful faith-based quality education for children and participates in the construction of sturdy homes for their families. They have met the spiritual, physical and medical needs of so many since 1994.
In Guatemala, Mike and Dottie Clark have faithfully led Casa Aleluya for over three decades, providing Christian-based education, medical and shelter for over six thousand children. Abuse and abandonment have been met and healed by the Lord through their loving care, and that of their staff, prayer partners and financial supporters. God has provided a new beginning for so many by the power of the Holy Spirit, who holds all things together in Christ daily.
As God directed the Israelites through Moses, He directs us today: Love the stranger, for you were once a stranger yourself.
7 “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Deuteronomy 15:7-8 NKJV
Who might be considered a “stranger” in your life? Where do you encounter them?
How can we provide support to the stranger around us today?
9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. Proverbs 22:9 NIV