The apostle Paul wrote, “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). Apparently, this counsel was given by Paul due to the fact that many people must have been so engrossed in their own lives that they didn’t take time to attend to the necessities of their fellow brothers/sisters in the church. In ancient times, a traveler would often be termed as a ‘stranger’ and such were dependent on the hospitality of others. For example, inns were not common and unless individuals took interest in the traveling strangers and their needs, the travelers would have no place to stay the night and would end up in the street otherwise.
In our world today, this same need doesn’t exist in the same way because of the availability of traveling accommodations. Nevertheless, the principle remains and Christians should seek ways to show hospitality in accordance with the needs of modern times.
The Bible gives us examples of people who were hospitable to strangers, who turned out to be angels appearing in human forms sent from God on special missions. Such examples include the experience of Abraham (Genesis 18:1–8), of Lot (Genesis 19:1–3), of Gideon (Judges 6:11–20), and Manoah (Judges 13:2–4, 9–21).
Jesus and His disciples received hospitality during their traveling ministry (Matthew 10:9-10). And the early missionaries also received hospitality as they spread the truth from place to place (Acts 2:44-45; 28:7). In today’s age, to be hospitable could also include opening one’s home for church activities when there is a need (Titus 1:8; 1 Timothy 3:2).
Jesus taught His children that the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). The believers are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10). As they serve and attend to the needs of others and minster to them, they have the promise that God will certainly reward them in heaven (Matthew 25:35).
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In His service,
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