Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)
Lisa started showing up at our Sunday soup kitchen with her two kids. Six months later, she started joining us for worship. The community soon adopted her and her children because they needed help. She was unemployed, without family, and the government’s financial assistance didn’t cover her expenses.
One Sunday morning, I announced to the congregation that the governing board would be meeting that afternoon to put together next year’s budget. Later that day, we were gathered together in my office. After weeks of asking for pledges and pruning our budget, we still had a substantial gap.
As we were sitting there stuck and out of ideas, someone knocked on the door. My office was shaped like an “L,” which meant that I could open the door without the person knowing there was a room full of people just around the corner.
I went to the door, opened it, and there stood Lisa. She said, “Here’s my pledge card. I wish I could do more. I’m so grateful to God. You all have saved my life.” I took her card, thanked her, and returned to the meeting.
Everybody had heard our conversation, and they were all very quiet when I sat down. And then, one person asked the treasurer to return his pledge card. When he received it, he tore it up. He then asked for another one while saying, “After what I just heard, I know God’s calling me to give more.” Everyone in the room followed suit. In five minutes, we had a surplus.
Today’s scripture tells us to give hospitality to strangers because we never know when one of them could be an angel. Lisa was indeed our “angel” that year.
Angels are messengers. Sometimes they have wings; sometimes they don’t. Although Lisa didn’t have wings, she did have a message—a message of abundance and gratitude and joy. We heard her message. Our hearing it changed us.
God sends his angels sometimes in strangers and sometimes in very surprising people. Today’s scripture encourages us to treat them with hospitality. We just never know when one of them has been sent to deliver the message we most need to hear from God.
- Have you ever met an angel of God through either a stranger or a most unlikely person who gave you just the exact message you needed to hear? If so, did you pay attention to the message?
- Is it possible that God might be sending you an angel that you aren’t seeing or hearing? If so, what message is God trying to give?
- Has God ever given you a message to share with someone? If so, how did you feel about being one of God’s messengers-angels? Are you currently sitting on and not sharing a message God has asked you to deliver? If so, when are you going to share what you have been given to say?