“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
Hospitality is becoming an almost forgotten Christian virtue in today’s society. In the New Testament, however, hospitality was a distinctive mark of Christian communities.
Hebrews 13:2 makes it clear we are to show hospitality to people. Yes, even to people we don’t know. It’s so easy to get caught up in our jobs, churches, community affairs. Yet, the world is full of hurting people. People you and I can touch with a kind word, a warm smile, a hot meal or a gentle touch. And people who would be eternally grateful if someone just stopped and prayed for them.
So what does it mean to show hospitality? The definition states: The friendly reception and treatment of guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way. This implies having people into your home for the purpose of kindness and fellowship. The Bible doesn’t instruct you to offer a fancy meal, or hire a maid for the day. Just to show hospitality.
I’ve been working in Munising, Michigan for the last 3 months. My lease on the cottage ended and the Luckey family opened their home to me for the last week of my stay. The realization that my time in Munising will soon be coming to an end, and I’ll be moving to Maine, hit me last night. But more striking was the realization that the Luckeys have shown me true hospitality and made me feel at home in theirs. Although I’m not a Yooper, they’ve made me feel comfortable. My host family have offered refuge in my time of need. I’m so grateful for their hospitality.
As Christians no matter where we are, we’re never far from home. God’s love is constantly around us. It’s present in our families, in our friends, in strangers, in sights and in sounds. It’s present in the sun that rises and sets on every horizon. It’s present in the winds that sweep the streets of Munising and the mountains of Tahoe. God’s love follows us to the ends of the earth and beyond.
God’s love is not a revelation, but a realization. When we allow ourselves to take in the world around us, we’ll realize the many gifts that God has tucked away in the most unexpected places in our lives. Even on a couch in a stranger’s home.
Why not take the time to offer a stranger a smile, a prayer, a cool drink or a helping hand? The rewards are many.