Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:1-2
Younger readers of the Daily Devotions are going to have to take my word on this: there was once a time when gas stations used more than a price on the pump to woo you in.
They used a thing called service. In those ancient days, they promised they would check your oil, your tires, and anything else that needed checking. They even had jingles. Your parents or grandparents can probably finish this little ditty: "You can trust your car to the man who wears the star, the big, bright. . . ."
If you have flown on most airlines, if you have a cell phone, you know that, in some places, the concept of service is suffering. Some will say service has already succumbed, breathed its last, and gone to "please-and-thank-you heaven."
Well, we as Christians don't have the ability to change every aspect of an ungracious society.
We don't have the capability to teach everyone to be courteous or caring. But that doesn't mean we have to throw in the towel. We can show hospitality and generosity.
When Pam and I go to churches, most people recognize me and greet me warmly. Pam's face is not as well known. Sadly, there have been times when she has entered a church, wandered around, seated herself, worshiped, and walked out without a smile or a welcome from anyone.
The writer to the Hebrews had a problem with that. That's why he, by the Holy Spirit's inspiration, encouraged, "Let brotherly love continue. Don't neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
Now I'm not saying Pam is always an angel, and I wouldn't try to convince you that every person who walks through your church doors is a messenger who has just come past the pearly gates.
On the other hand, these are people who are dearly loved by Jesus. The person who joins you in worship is not a stranger to Him. That face unknown to you is not unknown to the Savior.
Jesus saw that person's face when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Not only did He see that face and that person's sin, He loved that person enough to be arrested, beaten, spit upon, whipped, slapped, crowned with thorns, and crucified.
For that stranger - - for each of us - - Jesus died and rose, which means that we and the stranger have a lot in common. It means that while we may have a tough time being hospitable to strangers, it's not so hard to be nice to a brother or sister. That's a service Christians can do.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for sending Your Son to die for me so that I might not be a stranger to You but be welcome in heaven, You have my thanks. May I reflect on Your love to others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries