“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”

Psalm 5:3

“Love of Strangers”

(Please read Romans 12:13)

December 14

It may come as a surprise to people who have seen some of those old photographs from the Great Depression in this country, but people in those days had happy times just as we do now.

That isn’t to say that times were easy. Many families wouldn’t have made it without gardens, cows and chickens — and church members, neighbors and friends. Because when the home produce was not enough to supplement meager wages, there were good people who willingly helped with food, clothing and other necessities.

And such generosity was not confined to their fellow church members, or even to acquaintances. Strangers asking for help were not likely to be turned away empty-handed. Some of us can remember when families of total strangers sat at our table or camped in our yards, down on their luck and on their way to find work somewhere.

These hosts were observing a practice basic to Christianity – hospitality. The word came from two Greek words meaning “loving” and “a stranger,” so it literally means “love of strangers.” We see wonderful examples of hospitality in the earliest days of the church, when the local Christians did so much to help the poor among the new converts from out of town, even to the point of selling their homes to raise more money for that purpose.

As surely as Christians share the same Lord, we still share the same obligation to “entertain strangers.” This is a command with an unusual incentive attached: “By so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (see Hebrews 13:2). Maybe you can entertain an angel this very day!

 

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