Originally posted on heavenlyramblings on 10/09
Hebrews 13:2 “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”
The old testament people “entertained angels” without even knowing it. In Genesis 18:1, Abraham was eager to show hospitality to 2 strangers (angels). In Judges 6:11, Gideon entertained an angel while threshing wheat in seclusion. Again in Judges 13:2, an angel appeared to Manoah to tell him his barren wife would give birth. There are countless instances in the Bible that angels appeared in one for or another throughout the bible.
In those days, a persons reputation was largely connected to his hospitality towards others. The sharing of their home and food with strangers put them in higher regards. They (strangers) were to be treated as honored guests. Meeting one another’s needs was and still is one of the most immediate and practical ways to obey God.
Some people say they can not be hospitable because their homes are not big enough. Even if you have no more than a table and two chairs, in a rented room, there are people who would be grateful to spend time in your home. Are their visitors in your church with whom you could share a meal? Do you know an elderly woman who would love nothing more than an evening of conversation? Could your home meet the needs of a traveling evangelist? Hospitality simply means making other people feel comfortable and at home.
I lived in Kansas City for a short time of my life. For 2 years I got the pleasure of driving 47 miles one way to work down the scenic smog infested I435.
Everyday I passed under a bridge and on the right side was a couple and two children, an infant and a child approximately around the age of three, that had made it their home. Everyday for 2 years I passed by, without stopping, always thinking about getting home, cooking supper, doing laundry, and getting to bed at a decent hour, with the only thought of getting up to run the rat race all over again the next day. I never stopped to ask if they needed anything, but instead glanced their direction and thought someone should do something about their living conditions. I ignored God’s speaking to my heart for 6 months telling me to stop. Telling me I was that SOMEONE.
It was two weeks before thanksgiving and God kept saying stop! I resisted over and over. The day before thanksgiving, I said OK God I will stop , just quit screaming in my ear. I pulled over in the middle of rush hour traffic. Got out of my car and climbed the concrete and promptly introduced myself. I told them God had spoke to my heart and I wanted to invite them to thanksgiving dinner at my house. As I was speaking, I knew in my mind my family would be mortified for what I was doing, but God said extend another invitation to them. So I told them they were welcomed to stay in our home and shower and wash their clothes. In fact I probably had some clothing that would fit the children if there was a need. They were overjoyed, or seemed to be, at the invitation and with tears in their eyes and accepted. I told them I would be there at 10:00 am in the morning to pick them up, and they could stay as long as they needed to.
I got back in my car and cried all the way home. Partly because it felt good to do something for a stranger, but most of all I knew that could be me living under that bridge. God had blessed my family so it was time for me to pass those blessings on to someone else. When I got home I didn’t tell any of the 20 or so people that were to be at my house the next day. I knew they wouldn’t approve and I didn’t want to give them time to talk me out of it.
The next morning I got up and exclaimed “We don’t have ANY ice for the day!” I will just run out and get some. I drove the 12 miles to the bridge and parked. Upon getting out of my car, I looked up, and the family I had reached out to help were gone. Oh no had I scared them away? Were they too embarrassed to join us? What happened to them? Where had they gone?
Just then, as I was standing there I am sure looking lost a little myself, a highway patrolman pulled up behind my car. He approached me and asked if I needed any help. I asked him about the family “under the bridge” and he acted as if I didn’t know what I was talking about. I explained my story to him and with a bewildered look he said “Ma’am I have been driving this stretch of highway for over 10 years. I can drive it blindfolded, and I have never EVER seen anyone living under this bridge. I argued with him that I had just talked to them yesterday and that I had seen them everyday for 6 months sitting right up there, as I pointed to the top of the concrete. He once again assured me that he had not seen anyone under there and he patrols this highway for 12 hours everyday.
I got back in my care knowing that he was mistaken and just didn’t WANT to see them as I had done for many months. It wasn’t until years later when I read that particular scripture (Hebrews 13:2) that I came to the conclusion that they really weren’t there to anyone else but me. I HAD been the only one who had seen them. Were they angels? Had they been there for only me to see? Was God testing me to see if I would “entertain” them? What if they had been angels? AS a song by Brad Paisley says:
What if she’s an angel sent here from heaven
And she’s making certain that you’re doing your best
To take the time to help one another
Brother are you going to pass that test
You can go on with your day to day
Trying to forget what you saw in her face
Knowing deep down it could have been her saving grace
What if she’s an angel
What if? Remember to entertain strangers. You may not ever know if they were angels or not but treating others with hospitality that goes over and above is what God commands us to do. You never know when an angel will be sent your way to give you the opportunity to administer to, physically, mentally, financially, or even spiritually. Don’t pass up that chance.