As a little boy, my mom always told me to avoid any contact with strangers. She said, “Don’t ever talk to strangers. Never accept any offer from someone you don’t know; just get away from them immediately.”She alerted me to the danger of getting involved with strangers. She warned me of the possibility of being harmed by strangers. So I carefully listened to her advice because I knew that she cared about me. Back then I adapted an attitude to never talk to strangers but it all went away when I was in grade two and could read the Bible by myself.
Genesis 18 tells about Abraham and Sarah’s HOSPITALITY to three strangers who came to their tent near the trees of Mamre. Abraham had no idea who these strangers were; he never knew them personally, but yet look what he did! When he saw those strangers walking towards his tent, he hurried to meet and greet them, and offered them a basin of water to wash their feet. He invited them to go into his tent and have some rests. Furthermore, he offered them something to eat.He told Sarah in verse 6 (NIV), “Quick, get three seahs of the finest flour and bake some bread.”Then he asked his servant to prepare a tender calf, some curds and put milk on the table so that his visitors could enjoy their meal. Abraham’s attitude towards the strangers was totally in contrast to my mother’s outlook on how to treat strangers, and it also had changed my perspective of strangers.
Abraham’s HOSPITALITY seems to be rarely practiced today.We tend to be suspicious of strangers, avoiding any association with them. But let us remember what the Bible says in Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show HOSPITALITY to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown HOSPITALITY to angels without knowing it.”By showing HOSPITALITY to strangers, we could be showing HOSPITALITY to angels. Furthermore, Leviticus 19:32-34 says, “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” This Bible verse calls us to love the strangers as much as we love ourselves.
HOSPITALITY is an act of love, friendship and compassion.The story of Abraham and Sarah’s encounter with strangers tells us that HOSPITALITY is profoundly important in our Christian life, in our relationship with our fellowmen, as well as in our services to God and humanity. Let HOSPITALITY be a constant practice and attitude in our lives, and our homes would be a place where HOSPITALITY is felt for people who need shelter and safety.