Read Hebrews 13:1-2
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. (NIV)
When we use the word “hospitality”, we tend to think in terms of inviting friends to dinner, or opening our homes for church functions. That’s all well and good, but it’s not what the Biblical term means.
Our text highlights hospitality as ministry to strangers. The test of how hospitable we are, is how we welcome and embrace strangers, or those who are otherwise not close to us. Being sociable is not the same as being hospitable.
Churches need to be wary of patting themselves on the back about how friendly they are. The test of such a church is how visitors and strangers are welcomed. It is sadly true that some churches and other groups are very friendly to those already in their circle, but that same circle keeps others out. Not hospitable at all.
We are reminded, too, that welcoming strangers can have benefits. Those strangers may well be sent from God, and have a God-given part to play in our lives. To see others in those terms is to change our whole perspective on hospitality. The angels we welcome will not usually wear shining white garments, but come clad in the clothes of “normal” humanity.
God stands ready to send his human “angels” to us. Are we ready to welcome them?