How many of us neglect to add love to our brotherly kindness every day? Do you just say hi to people as you pass them on the sidewalk rather than ask them how they are doing? If you do ask how they are doing, do you secretly hope that their answer will be short like “I’m well,” or “I’m fine,” so you can continue with what you were doing...or do you devote some time to hear a real answer? When you drive and stop at that red light, do you pretend you are on your phone or playing with your radio to avoid eye contact with that person holding the sign that reads “Homeless, anything will help; God bless you”? When was the last time you gave them a blessing of money or food?
God speaking through the Apostle Paul in this scripture calls not only the believing Hebrews, but you and me, to the performance of many duties - one of them being hospitality. Paul reminds us not to neglect our duty of showing hospitality to and entertaining strangers. When we see they are without any certain dwelling place, we should allow them room to dwell in our hearts and homes as we have opportunity. Paul even gives us a motive to do so – “For by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” God has often bestowed honors and favors on servants who show hospitalitybeyond all their thoughts, without them knowing it.
A few months ago God tested this servant. I was going to stay at my mother’s house but something had me to go home that night even though I had been exhausted. When I exited my truck I heard a woman crying in a park. After devoting some time to find out what was wrong, I came to find out that she had no place to go as she was kicked out of where she was staying, had no money, had no one to call to come get her as her family had threw her out of their house, and had but only a thin jacket in the middle of winter. She was planning to sleep in the park that night. God had me to open the doors of my apartment and be hospitable to her engaging in much conversation; allowing her to use my shower, put on some warm clothes, eat some food, drink some water, and sleep in a warm, safe building. Additionally, this stranger was sick and throwing up without her medication; I housed her until the morning when she left.
My thoughts told me that what I was doing was crazy, that she could have been anyone from anywhere and I could have been in danger. But as I spoke with her in that park I recalled Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:35-36 (NIV): “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me…” I couldn’t just walk away from her. I showed hospitality beyond all my thoughts. The stranger left me a note: “I wanted to let you know I appreciate everything you’ve done. You made me feel special and cared for. I’m so glad I met you!” The last I heard from the stranger she had made her way to a shelter and was going to be housed in an apartment in a week. This stranger was going through the most difficult point in her life and thought that no one loved her or would even care if she died. God allowed me to let her dwell in my heart and my home and used me to remind her if no one else cares or loves her, God does.
If you were that stranger in that park- cold, crying, sick, and all alone with no place to go, in the most despairing point in your life – wouldn’t you want someone to show hospitality to you?