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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 131: Taking in strays

Today's Reading: Psalms 65-67, 69-70

Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.
Psalm 65:4

Two days ago, we received a desperate phone call from a young man who had been "kicked out" of his home and needed a place to stay. We brought him into our home, made a bed and place for him and have taken him in. We are dedicated to help him in anyway we can.

The best dog we have ever had and still have was "kicked out" of some home. We found him thin and flea infested. We took this stray in, fed him, found him a place in our home, paid vet bills and now he is part of our family.

Now before you think I'm bragging or wanting to put myself for some humanitarian award, think again.

First of all, I don't consider myself a very compassionate person. In all honesty, I'm as selfish if not moreso than the next person. But I can't stand to see anyone or anything destitute.

Secondly, I am practical and I understand the cost of taking strays into my life, whether the stray is an animal or a person with great need. It takes a lot of commitment. It demands from me something I don't necessarily want to share--my time and my resources.

But the third reason is the real reason I must take in my fair share of strays, and that is this: I, too, am a stray.

I am a spiritual stray.

The Psalmist today declares the shocking reality that we are all strays, and God chose to bring us near to God's courts, God's house, so that we could be filled with good things from God's household.

It's hard for us to imagine ourselves as destitute strays, after all, any of you reading this blog have at least access to a computer which puts you in the upper 1% of the world as far as wealth is concerned. And since you are reading this blog, I can assume you have been educated to read and write, which also means you are the "privileged" of this world. Most of us are also either employed, retired or have adequate income to eat everyday, have shelter over our heads at night and indoor plumbing. We probably have the where-with-all to know how to drive, own a car, answer an alarm clocks call to get up, take care of our own personal hygiene and keep a close network of friends and family to support our emotional needs.

If the Psalm today was written by David, he was probably the richest member of his society, too. Yet he realized his poverty.

Without God he had nothing.

The same is true for me.

The same is true for you.

God chose to bring us near to the abundance of his courts so we could be filled. Whether you or I acknowledge that fact is irrelevant to the truthfulness of the statement.

It is a humbling thing to realize one's own poverty.

It certainly has been for me.

I am usually so overwhelmed with my own life and my own desires and plans, that I forget the commitment God made when God and the church took me in. To imagine the resources of time and energy spent for my good is beyond my comprehension.

Is the same true for you?

Here's one thing I do know.

When we found the young man on our porch, made him a sandwich and gave him a bed, he couldn't stop thanking us.

And I'll tell you another thing, our stray dog, Buddy, after six years of living with us, is the most loyal and grateful creature I've ever known.

I am a stray.
Thank you for taking me in.
Let me become a person in your household who can't stop thanking you.
Let me become the most loyal and grateful creature you have ever known.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of God.
Matthew 5:3

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