Let’s think for a few moments about hospitality. The word comes from two Greek words meaning “loving” and “a stranger,” so it literally means “love of strangers.” In the earliest days of the church, in Jerusalem, Christians practiced an extreme form of hospitality. The number of believers had swelled from 120 to thousands, in just one day. Many of the new converts were from out of town, strangers to the local folks, and ill-prepared to stay longer in Jerusalem. But they needed to stay awhile, to learn more about the Lord and the church. So the locals shelled out money to help those strangers until the money was gone. Then they started selling their houses to raise more money for them. The situation apparently continued this way until the enemies of Christ began the persecution that drove so many Christians out of the city. What an example!
A different kind of hospitality was practiced by the Good Samaritan, who laudably demonstrated his love for a stranger. Even dropping money into a beggar’s cup is a form of hospitality.
Hospitality is one of the very basic forms of sharing by Christians. Even if times have changed and it is not quite so easy, or safe, to exercise hospitality as it used to be, that is no excuse for failing to practice it at all. For as surely as Christians share the same Lord, we share the same obligation to “entertain strangers.” This is a command with an unusual incentive attached: “By this some have entertained angels without knowing it” (NASB).
May we all harbor, and practice, love for strangers. Jesus did.