Passage of the Day: Hebrews 13: 2 [NIV] – 2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Hebrews 13: 2 - [NASB] – 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
My Journal for Today: Well, continuing on in Hebrews 13, today the Author begins to stretch the love of God which should be expressed in the lives of Christians. He says that this love should be extended not only to fellow believers but also to “strangers,” which probably would refers to non-believers as well as believers whom we don’t know well enough to be considered “brothers/sisters in Christ.” And like I said yesterday, extending God’s love to those we don’t know well can be a challenge when we don’t know if we can trust such people. Tomorrow, when we go to Heb. 13: 3, we’re going to see that this could even extend to the imprisoned. But I digress.
Paul picked up this theme in two of his epistles. Check out 1st Thess. 5: 15 and Gal. 6: 9-10 …
>>> SCRIPTURE: 1st Thess. 5: 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
Gal. 6: 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Hospitality was a big deal in middle-eastern culture when Paul and the Author of Hebrews wrote the above passages. And it was especially a mandate of the Jewish believers who no doubt remembered the story of their Father Abraham in Genesis 18: 1 - 5, who gave comfort to absolute strangers, who turned out to be angels, … one of those likely being the pre-incarnate Messiah.
But to absolutely validate the importance of our command to extend God’s love to the seemingly unlovable, to strangers, or to the lost, we need to go no further than the words of Jesus Himself, relating His command to reach out in love to the “least” of the world. Read in Matthew 25: 40, 45:
>>> SCRIPTURE: In His parable, Jesus says, in Matt. 25: 40, 45: ”The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.' … 45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.”
Again, I can’t help but remember the exhortation of John from 1st John 3: 18,19 [NASB], “Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed or in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth (i.e., really Christians), and shall assure our heart before Him.”
All of this is tough going for any Christian; but no one said that this Christianity deal was a walk in the park, just smelling the roses. Yes, … these commands are simple and straight forward. However, our walk as Christians can, at times, require spreading some manure on the roses and working hard to tend them for God. But when the roses grow and present themselves, they are sweet smelling and beautiful. So, I guess it’s time to go out and tend to God’s rose garden today.
My Prayer Today: Help me, Lord, to do what it takes to spread YOUR love in the world. Amen