May 27th 2010

The Spirit Of Hospitality

“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 (TNIV) 

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the man enter the shop.  He looked familiar, but I couldn’t remember his name or where I might have met him.  I carried on studying the cards for sale, while I frantically wondered if I should say hello. 

In chapters 18 and 19 of Genesis, angels visit both Abraham and Lot, and my encounter in the shop brought Lot’s story to mind.   Knowing Sodom to be a dangerous and violent city, Lot offered a room for the night to the two strangers in the market place.  He did not know that they were angels, nor did Lot know that these strangers would end up saving his life. 

My dilemma in the shop may seem a world away from the story of angels in Sodom but there is a connection.  Hospitality is not about throwing dinner parties or hosting great soirees.  Instead it is a state of mind, a willingness to welcome others into our busy lives. 

So I took the plunge and said hello.  To my amazement, the man was a member of my church!  From another congregation in a different city…but someone “closer” to me than I had anticipated. 

I’d like to think that, like Lot, I would offer sanctuary to two strangers in peril.  I hope never to be put to the test.  Yet, everyday I can offer “small” gifts of hospitality to those around me, by just taking the risk to say hello. 


Father, thank you that all of us—of all cultures, nationalities and ages—are made one people through your Son, Jesus Christ.  Give us the strength to reject fear, so that we can reach out to one another with the true spirit of hospitality.


Study by Ian Woodley

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