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Stories

An Opportunity to Love the Sojourner

Posted by New Life on

He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. -Deuteronomy 10:18-19

The book of Acts tells of the disciple Phillip’s encounter with a sojourner from Ethiopia, a court official who had come to Jerusalem to worship the God of Israel. Phillip, led by the Holy Spirit, met the Ethiopian man in a desert between Jerusalem and Gaza, a temporary stop that changed eternity for one man. The man, a eunuch, was reading the prophet Isaiah when Phillip asked if he understood what he was reading. The eunuch replied, “How can I unless someone guides me?” He invited Phillip to come and sit with him, and Phillip “opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:35). The eunuch believed the gospel and was baptized that very day.

Like the Ethiopian eunuch, many sojourners and resident foreigners come to College Station each year. International students come from all over the world to study at Texas A&M, providing unique opportunities to share the love of Christ with the nations, some considered to be unreached, without ever leaving College Station. Many of these internationals are curious about American culture, and some are open to and seeking the one true God. photo 1 copyEach Thanksgiving, the Baptist Student Ministries shows hospitality to the sojourner by inviting international students to a traditional Thanksgiving meal, providing a perfect opportunity to share a little piece of American culture as well as open the door for gospel conversation. Like Phillip, our encounters with students at this meal are often brief. They are passing conversations over a delicious dinner; they often do not seem significant. But church—let us not underestimate the power of these brief moments appointed by a wise and all-knowing God.

What amazes me about this story is the simplicity of Phillip’s obedience. Phillip:

1. Made himself available
2. Listened to the Spirit of God.
3. Opened his mouth.

Of course, not all will respond to the gospel in faith like the Ethiopian man. NL Missionary Nathan Forbes speaks of a previous opportunity he had at the Thanksgiving dinner:

“A couple years ago, Rebekah and I met two Chinese guys that we befriended. I was shocked when I mentioned that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and they pointed to a cross on the wall, and said “Oh, we were wondering what that was.” We regularly had them over for dinner, and I began to play basketball with one of them named Simeon. He began to come to corporate worship and regularly hear about the gospel. Many in the church came alongside us to welcome and encourage him. After watching the movie “Beware of Christians”, we talked again about the gospel and called him to repent and believe in Jesus. Much to our sadness, he again rejected the gospel. We were thankful to be used by God and look forward to meet other “Simeon’s” who the Lord might be drawing to himself.”

Regardless of the response or fruit we see, as Thanksgiving approaches let us consider how we might, like Phillip, make ourselves available to be used by God through serving at the Baptist Student Ministry’s Thanksgiving dinner. As we enjoy delicious homemade food and give thanks to God for all our blessings, let us be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and pray for opportunities to be a part of one man’s eternal story. By cooking dishes, signing up to serve food, or seeking out intentional conversation, please consider how you might serve the sojourner among us this Thanksgiving!

So being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. –1 Thessalonians 2:8

When: Friday, November 16th at 6:30PM

Where: 203 College Main in College Station

Sign up to bring a dish: https://goo.gl/7PMALW