March 6, 2008
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
Sometimes Christians get a bad rap; sometimes they deserve the criticism they receive.
Mystified? Let me explain. Last summer Jonathan McCullum left his home in Hallowell, Maine and went as a foreign exchange student to Alexandria, Egypt. When Jonathan left he weighed 155 pounds; 4 months later, when he came back, he weighed 97. He had difficulty carrying his luggage and doctors said he was a candidate for a heart attack.
Why the loss in weight? Some say it was because Jonathan was staying with a family of Coptic Christians; they fast more than 200 days a year. Jonathan says it was because his hosts were cheap and stingy. He added, the adults in the household gave him the smallest portion of food possible and they hid snacks in their bedroom. This they did, even as they kept complaining his upkeep was too costly.
The host family says, Jonathan “was eating for an hour and a half at every meal. The amount of food he ate at each meal was equal to six people,"
I doubt if we will ever know exactly what happened or who was at fault.
I do know the writer of the book of Hebrews says we should entertain strangers properly… after all, you just never know when an angel may show up. In the book of Acts, Luke says, right from its first days the early church ‘received their food with glad and generous hearts.’ (Acts 2:46b)
So, even if I don’t know the truth of what happened to Jonathan, I do know we who have received countless blessings from our heavenly Father, and the gift of forgiveness and salvation through Jesus’ sacrificial life, should be experts in practicing hospitality.
To paraphrase Hebrews, ‘we need to reflect the Savior’s love to strangers because you never know when an angel might drop in, or a lost soul show up who needs to see the Savior.’
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, because of Your sacrifice, Your suffering, death, and resurrection, I am forgiven, and will one day, be welcomed into my home in heaven. May I reflect Your love to others including the stranger at my door. In Your Name. Amen.
PS – Jonathan was hospitalized for two weeks, has regained 20 pounds, and will be going back to school in the fall.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries