Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)
We often think of angels as heavenly beings with wings that come flying into our lives. I don’t deny that such angels have existed, or that they don’t now exist.
But these aren’t the kind of angels I want to reflect upon today. Instead of the supernatural angels God sends from heaven, I would like to lift up and profile the natural ones He sends from earth.
Angels bring us messages from God. Where those angels come from and how they come doesn’t matter. What matters is what those angels say. What also matters is whether we’re willing to listen.
Angels have come to me at the carwash and the drycleaners. They’ve come in seemingly chance encounters in airports and in restaurants. They’ve come on bike rides with someone I didn’t know and wouldn’t see again. I can’t begin to recount all the ways God’s messengers have come to me.
Sometimes I quickly know when I’m being encountered by one of God’s angels because they’re giving me just exactly the words I most needed to hear at that moment. Sometimes, though, I only knew in retrospect that an angel had spoken as I reflected on something they had said. Sadly, I’m sure I’ve missed paying attention to some of the angels God has sent.
If we’re to recognize God’s angels, today’s scripture invites us to “show hospitality to strangers.” This invitation begs these questions: How do we respond to those we don’t yet know? Is our response more often open and hospitable, or more often closed and hostile?
Today I encourage us to be open to the angels God is sending to us—sometimes in random moments and in the most unexpected people. I also encourage us to consider if we need to become more hospitable, not only to those we know but also to those we don’t. Through our greater hospitality, we might just be giving more room for God’s angels to speak more peace, hope, and love into our lives.
- Has God ever sent an angel—a messenger—to you? If so, what was the message?
- Both to those you know and to those you don’t, do you tend to be more hospitable or hostile? How do you think your life would change if you were more open to others?
- The question isn’t whether God sends messages to us. No, the question is whether we’re paying attention. Are you? If so, lovely. If not, have you ever considered what you could be missing?