Drifter at the Door

In the hot weather, I usually go over to our church building early on Sunday morning to get the AC going so the sanctuary temperature will be relatively comfortable by worship time. When I pulled up under the entrance canopy at six-thirty Sunday morning, I got a bit of a surprise: there was a body lying on the mat right outside the front doors.

Before my imagination could get too revved up, the body stirred. As I stepped out of the car, the man roused himself up, rubbed his eyes and got to his feet. He started folding up the lightweight long-sleeved shirt that was covering his torso when I’d arrived.

“I’m sorry, I was walking on the highway last night and my feet got to hurting so bad, I had to stop. I saw this church so I thought, ‘I’ll just spend the night there.’ Sorry.”

I looked at the thirty-something-year-old dude and thought he looked rather well groomed for a drifter. Just over six feet tall and with just a bit of a belly, his soft voice and gentle eyes put me at ease. “No problem,” I replied, “You need to use a bathroom?”

He responded quickly, “Yes, that’d be great,” and bent over to pick up what looked like an empty backpack. “Oh,” he said, sticking out his hand, “I’m Jamie.” I introduced myself and he followed me in and I led him back to the fellowship area. I showed him where the restroom was and then went on into the kitchen. I was happy to see a large supply of snacks for our Children’s Church program. I laid out a couple of packages of peanut butter crackers and poured him a cup of orange juice. “Hungry?” I asked, feeling pretty confident of a positive response.

Then I asked him, “Would you like to take a shower?”

His eyes widened and brightened, “Oh, man, I haven’t had a shower in…” he paused and then finished “… over a month.” So I showed him the towels and turned on the shower. We have an inline, on-demand water heater located about sixty feet away from the bathroom so it takes it a little while to begin delivering hot water.

Then I showed him to our small fellowship area near the front entrance, “There’s a couch there if you’d like to try and catch some more sleep. Won’t be anyone else here till about nine o’clock. You’re welcome to rest a while.”

“Thank you,” he replied with conviction and sincerity in his voice, “I really appreciate all of this.”

When I came back at nine, he was sleeping away, clean bare feet hanging off the edge of the couch. It was the best use that room had gotten in quite some time. I came back later with some donuts and more juice from our Sunday School group. He ate like a hungry man and I couldn’t help thinking about that scripture, “Be careful to entertain strangers, for some thereby have hosted angels.”

Whether angel or not, I can’t say, but I do know that whatever good we do for the least of the family of faith, we do for Christ. Jamie joined us for worship, wearing a clean shirt one of the members brought to him. After church, one of our deacons took Jesus on over to Atchison, helping all of us make it just a little farther along on our journey.

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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