No Room in the Inn

I serve on Mondays at Room in the Inn through Brentwood Baptist Church. It’s a blessing to be able to minister to homeless men once a week. Especially on a week like this so close to Christmas.

We had a special night with Christmas carols and the reading of the birth story of Jesus from Luke 2. One of the men noticed the subtle double meaning from the part about no room in the inn.

In once sense, it means Joseph and Mary had no place to go for her to deliver the baby who was Emmanuel, God with us in the waiting. Obviously, there were no Ramada Inns or Holiday Express rooms back then. Most likely, the word for inn meant a spare room in the back of a house used for animals. So Joseph and Mary took up in a cave with a feeding trough and a bare floor.

But in another sense, Room in the inn didn’t exist. There were no organizations for people with no place to stay the night, people like Joseph and Mary.

Room in the Inn helps homeless men meet their basic needs of food and shelter. On cold nights like this, it’s a good and much needed service to keep people from sleeping on the streets on wintry nights where the temperatures are below freezing.

At Brentwood Baptist, we sit with them and talk with them, listening to their stories and praying for their requests. We give them a good meal, a hot shower, a place to sleep, and some of their basic toiletry needs. We offer a Bible study for any of them who are interested, but we don’t force them to come — it’s up to them.

Maybe when we do something like this for the least of these, we’re serving Jesus in a way those in 1st century Bethlehem could not. We’re inviting Him in from the cold and giving Him food. We’re clothing Him and giving Him a place for the night.

That’s why Room in the Inn exists. We’re serving homeless men, but ultimately, we’re serving Jesus.

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