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Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Hospitality of God

"Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels." Heb 13:2

When I was a boy, my parents insisted that we stop doing whatever we were doing when a guest arrived. The radio was shut off and the guest was made to feel welcome no matter the inconvenience to anyone in the family. It was a good, if sometimes difficult, practice. Guests knew they were important not because of anything we might say, but because of the undivided attention they received.

When the author of the book of Hebrews tells the disciples not to neglect hospitality he is referring to several passages in the Old Testament. My favorite is from the book of Genesis in the 18th chapter. After Abraham welcomes visitors, his guests assure him that his wife Sarah, who had been barren, will soon be pregnant and have a healthy child in her old age.

What if Abraham had neglected his guests? What if we do?  Not everything from the past is worth reclaiming, but hospitality is a virtue that ought to shape our faith lives. Remembering to shut off  or silence our cell phones when welcoming guests might be a good place to start.

Today, be hospitable to anyone you encounter.

How important is hospitality in a life of faith?

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