Ezekiel 8-10 Hebrews 13
“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:1-2 NCV)
This last chapter of Hebrews is full of lessons for Christians on daily living. All of them boil down to these two admonitions: love your fellow Christians, show love to strangers. In other words, the author focuses on Christians living as a community of believers. At the same time, we must extend our community to include strangers and show them hospitality. The author dangles the possibility of strangers being angels. Perhaps the idea of having coffee with an angel is more appealing to imagine than caring for a “regular” stranger, but whatever the reason, it’s reminiscent of Jesus’s response to the question “who is my neighbor?”
I’m motivated to love my brothers and sisters in Christ not only because of God’s command, but because they’re family. Some of you are like the crazy uncle we warn the kids about, although many of you may tell me that’s the part I play, but we’re family. We need each other. In some parts of the world, that family is undergoing persecution and we need to support them. As the gospel is given less respect in our culture, we need to support and love each other. At the same time, we need to learn to treat all people as members of our Christian family. We’re to show hospitality to people we don’t know. Sometimes those people we show hospitality to will have a message from God for us. Sometimes, our hospitality is the message from God. Either way, it all happens in community: the community of those we know as brothers and sisters in Christ or the community of a world that needs to know the love and grace of Jesus Christ. We’re called to love and serve each other, whoever the other person might be.
Lord, we never know when we’re going to meet someone who will strengthen us because of our hospitality. We never know when we meet someone that we can strengthen because of our hospitality. We know that we’re called to love brothers and sisters in Christ and show hospitality to all people. Teach me to put others before myself at all times.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.