“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!…And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” – Hebrews 13:2,16.
Think about Hebrews 13:2 for a second. It is an interesting concept. By showing kindness to strangers, you could be showing kindness to a messenger of God. Buying an extra burger to share with a homeless person, helping someone change a flat tire on their car, offering a ride to a colleague who needs one—in these ways and more, God often gives us opportunities to show hospitality and compassion for someone who has a need.
It is not by accident that the writer of Hebrews urges readers to love each other and to look out for the needs of strangers. It’s easy to overlook the unusual or the unfamiliar. It takes the love of Christ to reach out to the stranger who might just bring a unique blessing that you never saw coming.
During the last year of masks and lockdowns, quarantine, and distancing, many found it easier to brush off the idea of practicing hospitality. Of course, we need to be safe and consider the health of others, but this can easily become our excuse to turn inward and lose sight of our mission to love others. Hebrews 13:16 has direct application during the COVID-19 pandemic. This verse reads as follows: “And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” This verse is about being helpful. Being helpful is a willingness to give assistance, render service, or share what we have when someone else is in need. Not surprisingly, being helpful requires that we be willing to sacrifice for others.
When Christ told us in the second part of the greatest commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves, He meant we should be helpful to others in need. That is how Christ defined the term “neighbor.” Anyone who is in need is our neighbor. The pandemic is one of the best opportunities we will ever have to show our neighbors the love of Christ through our actions and our attitude. How we conduct ourselves during the crisis may well be the best sermon our neighbors ever hear. For some, it might be the only sermon they ever hear.
With God’s grace, mercy, and help, we will weather this storm. In the meantime, the pandemic is presenting us with unprecedented opportunities to obey Christ’s admonition to love our neighbors as ourselves. We can be on a mission by being helpful to others who are struggling during these difficult times.
So as you go about your day, even wearing a mask or looking through a plexiglass window, on the phone or on a computer screen, think about how your presence can impact another person in a positive way. Ask God to give you eyes to see neighbors, colleagues, and strangers the way He sees them.
- How do you practice hospitality during the pandemic?
- What can you do this week to reflect Christ to others?