Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angel. (Hebrews chapter 13 verse 2)
Engraved in the teenage version of my mind, is the vivid memory of an interaction that has placed much pressure on me to never forget: Hebrews chapter 13 verse 2.
You see, at that time, I lived in a residential community in the more rural side of Jamaica, where I am from. It was quite the norm in that area for complete strangers passing through the community to call out to residents, asking for a drink of water, something to eat or even money to assist with a specific need. This was a culture I grew up in.
Usually, my parents would have taken on the role of supplying these persons reasonably with their request but there was…THIS one day…where, I really do not remember where my parents were but I was the person that recognized that someone was knocking at our gate.
While responding to the person’s call from a distance, I noticed that the individual did not look quite ‘put together’ as I was used to and I was not sure what to have made of that. He seemed to be of sound mind but he just wasn’t…… you knowwwww….. He just wasn’t so refined.
The gentleman called out to me asking for a drink of water. Instinctively, I responded quite quickly with an “Okay, I am coming” but the journey to kitchen was the longest, most pensive and conflicting one.
I recall standing in the kitchen for a little while confusingly pondering which cup I was to offer the man the drink of water in. Should I have gone for an old cup that was cracked and faded that I was sure to throw away after he was finished or was I to present him with one that was of a better lot?
I knew that my natural inclination and preference was to opt for the tattered cup but something was just telling me that my reason for doing so was clearly wrong.
What if it were another stranger, all dressed up and in a nice looking car? What if it were someone famous even…. the prime minister or president or our pastor, wouldn’t we have jumped to grab for the most prized, possessed glassware? You know, those ones that maybe we ourselves would have never ever used? Would you have even considered using the rejected cup in the corner in the first place?
I bet your answer would be “No” right? It would be premised on how the person looks. Based on how nicely he/she is dressed and perhaps how eloquently they spoke, our actions and thoughts of him/her would have easily been directed towards offering them the best.
I definitely know that God knew that our innate proclivity would be to think and respond just like that when He gave us Hebrews chapter 13 verse 2 as an inspired word. He said: Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. The verse was not particular in which type of strangers we were to entertain.
The most appropriate conclusion to make then is that it was referring to all strangers. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are various situations that will warrant for us to make more reasonable judgements and assessments of a person to determine their motive as well as to preserve our own safety but the main point I would like to hit home to us is that we ought to be careful that we do not engage in partialities, favouritisms and unloving activities when dealing with others that we do not personally know.
We really will never know if we are being presented with an opportunity to entertain angels and to make an impression in heaven with our hospitality!
The word ‘unwittingly’ means unknowingly. We may not know when we are interacting with angels or agents sent specifically by God to test us on a matter.
It means therefore, that we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit who will enable us to discern if and when we are in harm’s way and if not, to surround others with great love and hospitality….for who they are as a person versus how they dress, speak or what accolades they carry. Think about it, we would have wanted the same for us!
Dear Father, I ask Your mercy and forgiveness today. Many times I have acted based on my own biases and treated others unlovingly. I pray that You will teach me today how to be so much more like You. Teach me to hear You, learn from You and depict Your heart to others through and through. May I learn how to treat those around me with great hospitality because I would never want to fail the test of entertaining an angel unaware. I ask this of Your precious Name, Jesus, AMEN.
Never miss an opportunity to entertain angels and to make an impression in heaven with our hospitality!
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly (unknowingly) entertained angels.
Melicha J. Smith originates and resides in Jamaica, West Indies. She has been involved in youth ministries for over 13 years and has served in the capacities of teacher, mentor, intercessor and missionary. Professionally she functions as a Registered Pharmacist.
Melicha enjoys and invests most of her time in writing, reading and listening to music. She loves a good game of football even though she understands VERY LITTLE about the game.
Melicha Smith is an author, speaker and founder of Reflective Hands Ministry.
Follow her on Instagram: @reflectivehandsja