The Upper Room Devotion for Friday, November 10, 2023, was written by Ediyime Nicholas of Akwa Ibom, Nigeria.
1 Let mutual love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. 4 Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” 6 So we can say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” 7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:1-8 NRSV
I grew up in a society where people are often skeptical about entertaining strangers. Often, strangers inspire feelings of suspicion and fear. But God wants us to be kind to strangers, regardless of the assumptions of others or the stories that make headlines. Hospitality to strangers links us with God and with others. It is a wonderful way of expressing and extending the love of God to the world. Some strangers may not know about the love of God, and as Christians we should look beyond the four walls of our local church and denomination to welcome them. When we show hospitality to strangers in our neighborhoods and welcome those who visit our home or walk past our street, we have the opportunity to entertain angels.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
Creating a hospitable environment, where others feel welcomed, is a charge and challenge for every church. One of our core values is extending genuine hospitality to those who enter our doors. Many of us can recall an experience where we were the stranger in a setting, and the discomfort that arises when no one welcomed us. It is important for us to be wise as we balance safety with compassion. Yet, Christ calls us to wrestle with these two factors in order to be conduits of his grace. May we all strive to extend genuine hospitality to those God will bring across our path today.
Dear Father, encourage us to offer hospitality to strangers whenever we can. In Jesus' name. Amen.