Words from the Heart for Friday September 16th, 2016
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)
The man on the corner who needs lunch – have you ever thought of stopping and buying him a coffee and sandwich? How about the new neighbour on the block who doesn’t know anyone – can you invite them over? You never know who you might be ministering to, and may be surprised at who you bless!
When I give you the following statistic, two things might surprise you. First, in 2011 there were 46,718 children reported missing in Canada. This figure seems extremely high to me, quite disturbing actually. Now I’m going to give you the number who were suspected of being abducted by a stranger – 25. I am just a shocked by how low that number is. And this is even more surprising when you hear the definition of a stranger – anyone who is not a parent. In other words, it could be a relative, a friend of the family, a babysitter or someone unknown to the family or victim. Now some good news. 63 per cent of the missing children and youth reports were over within 24 hours and 86 per cent within a week. In any year the vast majority of the reports turn out to be runaways.
There are some verses in the Bible that are particularly interesting. They bring some spiritual truth to our attention that we usually don’t think much about. Hebrews 13:2 is one such verse. It says “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” The Bible teaches a number of things about angels. They are created beings, who serve God and His people. They are around us, protecting us – God’s guardians of God’s people. Most of us have never seen an angel. Or have we? That is the point that our text for today is making. We never know. Hebrews here calls us to treat strangers with hospitality because we may, in fact, be hosting an angel. It’s a good reminder that the spiritual world is all around us. In our physical world, it is too easy to forget that the realm in which God dwells is not far from us. And the Bible teaches that angels can step from that world into ours. And they can appear to us as strangers. We are always called to be kind to others, even strangers. Followers of Jesus are called to treat others hospitably. By doing so, we express the love of Jesus in practical ways. And sometimes, we might even be welcoming a visitor from heaven. Pay attention today for opportunities to welcome strangers.
These have been words from the heart.