“Sorry, we don’t have any vacancies”

121513 010-LR

 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:6-7

When the Son of God was born on this earth, the birth took place out in a barn because there was no room at the Inn; unbelievable!

Can you imagine anything more ridiculous?  The very incarnation of God, and no one can open their doors… “Well, you can stay in the barn I guess, but don’t touch anything!”

There are many ways to look at this, and preachers have done their sermons on it for years, and yet it still amazes me.  Look, if Joseph and Mary came to my house and needed a place to stay, I’d make room for them, wouldn’t you?  Imagine having Jesus born right there in the guest room; wow!

Wait a minute!  That way of thinking is ridiculous, isn’t it?

My door would be open to really good friends or family, but not to a dirty couple of strangers, and certainly not for a home birth… think of the mess, and how do I know they won’t steal something?

Suddenly this isn’t such an easy thing, is it?  Do we really welcome strangers in the 21st century?  No, but sometimes we talk a good game. Our world is a dangerous place, you can never tell who is some kind of a criminal… no, it’s better not to be involved. “Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses?”

Being entirely serious, there is a real dilemma here for a Christian.  We know what Jesus said about entertaining strangers and we know the whole concept of showing His love to those around us, but is it just a concept; some sort of a metaphor?

Here is what I can say for certain: It is no metaphor.  Sharing Christ’s love with strangers is a real thing, not a metaphorical concept.  On the other hand, having perfect strangers in one’s home overnight is risky to say the least, and I don’t know how to reconcile the two; apparently the people of Bethlehem didn’t either, but God used the situation to bring glory to Himself.  God showed us that even those in the most humble of circumstances could be the greatest of blessings to Mankind, and the mightiest of His servants.  It has always struck me fairly hard that Messiah did not come as someone in high society, but as a common working class man from “fly over country.”

Over the years, I haven’t had the best of luck trying to lead the poorest and most humble of people to Christ, to be honest.  I don’t even speak the language of the inner city or rural poor, and yet I’ve seen others do amazing work in these areas.  I’ve had more success with the educated, while those I’ve met who work with the poor have not.  It might just be that each of us has his or her own ‘calling’ as to who we can best work with, but I’d like to share an idea with you, and in so doing remind myself of it:

It is true that each of us has a calling in some area with the spiritual gifts to go with it, but all of us have an imperative to share with those God brings across our paths. We mustn’t say that a person God brings to us isn’t the right one for us to share with. This can be uncomfortable sometimes, but that’s no excuse; who can say what God is up to?  We might just be the one who plants a seed that results in a glorious harvest that someone else brings in later that we never even find out about.  The only way to be sure is to never share at all, and then we can be sure that we have frustrated the spread of the Gospel of Salvation.

O Lord, guide us and lead us to do your will in all things!

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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15 Responses to “Sorry, we don’t have any vacancies”

  1. Jnana Hodson says:

    One interpretation I’ve heard is that the stable was the better option. Inns would have been large rooms with many people. The stable was private.

  2. Wally Fry says:

    Don this was very timely for me thank you. You know I was pretty much a product of the inner city and I have been feeling it call to me as the spread of the gospel there has largely been abandoned as established churches have fled to the suburbs. This resonated with me thanks

  3. bcaudle77 says:

    great point, it like we want the huge splash in the ocean, we just need to love and share, it will come to us. A lot of times if we do it like this people end up coming to us with questions.

    thanks Don

  4. paulfg says:

    “We might just be the one who plants a seed that results in a glorious harvest that someone else brings in later that we never even find out about.”

    One word went through my mind reading this: “Grace” – that if we need to sow and then reap the seeds we have sown, isn’t that like only forgiving those who forgive us? Smiling at those who smile at us? Counting. Keeping track. Measuring. Struck me this is more than a team-game, more than “the body”. Sowing seeds just “is” – just as grace just “is”. Never seen it that way before in that imagery.

    Thank you!

  5. I love this perspective. Even though I try to share the Lord with anyone I have the opportunity to, I feel that my calling is within the church, to help make disciples of those who either know religion but don’t really know Jesus, or those who want to know Jesus more. I love the way God tunes each of our hearts to a different pitch, yet we all play the same song.

  6. etaxwiz says:

    Yesterday, a woman from across the street came over and invited us to a nondenominational bible study. I didn’t want to open the screen but my husband reached passed me and took the flyer. I guess, I should have been more welcoming. It is just that I heard from other neighbors that this woman once she gets into your life you can’t get her out. Why am I feeling like Jonah? He does work in mysterious ways.

  7. shellysom91 says:

    This is a great article. Very true. It’s a hard thing to know how to balance being hospitable and being vulnerable. Kudos on you still trying to figure it out, and knowing that, with good intentions, God will take care of you! =)

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