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Welcoming the Least

by KERRI GUPTA HOSPITALITY Compassion Dependence
Welcoming the Least
“Then [Jesus] said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.’”
Luke 9:48

I’ve never felt more needy than I did when our team of nearly twenty global workers evacuated a year ago from Ukraine, our adopted country for the past seventeen years. We brought little with us, and we had to depend on colleagues, friends (and sometimes their colleagues and friends) to find us places to stay on short notice. This went on for months. 

Years ago, our team had a plan all worked out…for eight years we’d had an evacuation plan in place, which was supposed to culminate in our team all traveling together and huddling up to grieve together. But when the time came to leave, none of those plans worked. Someone had Covid at the retreat center that had agreed to house us, so we all had to find our own places of refuge, which scattered us around the world. 

Our exhausted family drove in late at night to a Bible school campus in Hungary, where we were housed and fed. Someone even brought fruit to our room because they knew it was scarce in the cafeteria, and when my husband got bronchitis, we were given soup and medicine that I wouldn’t have known how to get on my own. Ours is just one story of millions, not only from Ukraine but from Syria, Afghanistan, and many other war-torn countries. Sadly, the refugees from Ukraine are mostly women and children. (My closest Ukrainian friend is now in Sweden with her four kids, while her husband is fighting in Ukraine.)

Now that I know what it felt like to be the recipient of that kind of care, it will forever change the way I think about Jesus’ call to care for the “little children” and the “least” among us. But what stands out most to me in the verse above is the statement at the end. Jesus says that the least of among us are the “greatest.” He gives care, and even honor, to those whom society disdains. This is the way Jesus called us to do hospitality—it’s not just entertaining or hosting, but caring like Jesus did about those whom He loves. 

Closing Prayer
Lord, give me your perspective on the people you love—even those who don’t seem loveable. Help me to see hospitality like you do, an open door to share your love with others. And give me your eyes to see the least among us and the courage to truly care and honor those who seem undeserving. Amen.
Article: Homelessness: Who Is My Neighbor? by The West Ohio UMC I like the explanation of the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the way the author ties it to Jesus’ call to care and welcome. There are also links to video stories with follow-up questions and additional resources.
Question for Reflection

What stops you from showing this kind of care to people? And how do you think God might be moving you toward welcoming others more freely?

Kerri Gupta
September 14, 2023

In the past, I have hesitated to care for the “least among us” mostly because of fear. I don’t know what it will cost me or my family, and I am afraid of getting in “too deep.” What I have learned from being needy is that any little kindness is appreciated, and you are never obligated to go further. Over time, your comfort zone will likely expand as you see God using you. I can see how He has used our experience to stretch my perspective, and I pray that He will give me opportunities to welcome more people in the future.