I’ll never forget the meals brought to us after our boys were born. We were surrounded by a loving community of people who generously brought meal after meal to our home, supporting our family and feeding our souls as well as our bodies. It is a debt I’m sure I can never repay.
But one family stands out in my mind and always will. I didn’t know their family yet (just of them). They heard of our need, and in a season of trial themselves, they served us. I’ll never forget the evening they came to our home. One by one the children entered, each carrying a component of the meal. Homemade pizza, warm from the oven. Tossed salad. Soft chocolate chip cookies, homemade with love. They stayed for a few minutes, encouraging us in the Gospel and speaking truth to us in the midst of the bittersweet season of both unemployment and a new baby.
I’ll never forget their kindness to us, that, although they did not know our family before that night, they chose to love us in a very practical way.
I also am reminded of a family at our church this spring who went through a serious trial. As a church, we were told about the needs they had and the ways we as a church family could support them. The email still echos in my mind: Even if you don’t know them, they have served you. This family had served (and continues to serve) our church in myriad ways, so that even those who didn’t know them had been blessed by their ministry and willing service.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting people for the first time when I show up on their doorstep with a meal. In turn I’ve been blessed with meals from strangers, acquaintances, and friends.
Here’s the truth: you don’t have to know them to take them a meal. You can richly bless others through the ministry of hospitality whether you know them well or not at all. You can be Christ to others in their season of sorrow or of joy, and through the meal you take, you can build (or deepen) your relationship with them and show them love through a tangible act of service.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection.
Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”