“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
One hot afternoon, Abraham looked up from the door of his tent, and saw three men standing in front of him. Abraham immediately began preparations for a meal. He had Sarah bake bread, and his servants slaughter a calf, and when all was ready, Abraham, himself, served his guests, never suspecting that he was serving angels. The writer to the Hebrews picks up on that thought, and uses it to encourage his readers of every generation to not neglect to show hospitality to strangers.
Some weeks ago, it was necessary that I spend a weekend in Ottawa along with my wife and youngest son. We didn’t know anybody in the city, and were very apprehensive about the trip. But a friend of a friend invited us into their home for the weekend. Although they lived in a very beautiful home on a gorgeous property, that is not what we remembered most about the weekend. Rather, it was the warmth and genuine Christian love and hospitality that they showered upon us. We enjoyed times of rich Christian fellowship with them, and our hearts overflowed with praise to God for the tremendous blessings we were experiencing!
It dawned on me, however, that it would have been easy for this family to decline their home to absolute strangers. They might have reasoned that for the sake of the general safety of their family, it would not be responsible to host strangers. They might have reasoned that due to Covid-19 threats, it would be unwise to risk illness. They might simply have reasoned that after a busy week of work, they needed the weekend to rest and rejuvenate, rather than to entertain strangers. But they didn’t! They simply chose to obey the verse above, out of love for the Lord and for His kingdom!
We live in a cold and hurting world, where masked people hardly dare make eye contact. But Christians must stand out for their love and kindness, for their hospitality in this broken world. An old song contains these lyrics: “So if you’re walking down the street sometime, And spot some hollow ancient eyes; Please don’t just pass ’em by and stare as if you didn’t care, say, “Hello in there, hello!” Sometimes, it may just be a brief conversation that begins the renewal of a scarred life. Sometimes it may be delivering a meal, and yes, sometimes it may mean hosting a family for an entire weekend. But as we reach out with hospitality, we are not only following the example of Abraham, and of our new friends in Ottawa, but we are demonstrating something of the measureless hospitality of the One who reached out to “strangers of the covenant” and brought them near to Himself through His death and resurrection. Hallelujah!