Hospitality to Strangers

white empty dinner plate setting on wooden table
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2I’m going to start by saying something that may be hard to hear. But it can be true and I think it needs to be addressed among us, beloved. If I am honest I think sometimes we as a community of women can be less than hospitable to each other when we do not know someone. Sure, we are serving and generous when it comes to those we call our own: our husbands, our children, our close friends, those whom we like. But how are we to the shy lady who wanders the hallways of our churches always by herself? How are we to the awkward homeless man who talks to himself? How are we to the outcast? To those who are strange to us? To those that we don’t have a relationship where we receive anything from?

How are we when we don’t know someone and it takes work to be kind, to inquire about their day, to discover a little bit of who they are? Beloved, I am not writing today to indict anyone, but to draw our attention to the need and calling and the wonderful pleasure of showing hospitality to strangers, to those we do not know well, to those that may even seem strange to us.

I have been on the outskirts of church community myself for a long time, feeling awkward and uncomfortable, experiencing shyness and the difficulty to express myself. I’m sure many of you have too. Knowing how it feels to be the stranger has shown me an compassion and an extra measure of hospitality to those whom I do not know.

I’m not saying we have the capacity to pour ourselves out endlessly for everyone we meet. But I am saying we do not always realize how much it may mean to grace someone with our smile, with sincere eye contact, with our kind greeting, with a heart of hospitality.

My heart has often been strengthened and touched by those who have made the effort to show me hospitality and kindness. And in God’s perfect way, it has not always come from the expected sources. This attitude to be hospitable is not just a calling that belongs to those who are in church leadership and the assembled hospitality team. We all are called to show hospitality. And to show this beautiful concept of welcoming acceptance to those who are strangers to us. After all, on this earth we are all strangers in a strange land and one of the ways we can make this pilgrimage of life a little more bearable is by experiencing and showing hospitality.

So be generous in hospitality. Show it to everyone and anyone. Let your hospitable and kind heart be on display to all.

Who knows? Perhaps our hospitality will lift up a fellow believer who is down. Perhaps our hospitable will draw an unbeliever to our Lord himself. And astonishingly enough, our hospitality might even, unawares be shown to an angel.

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