On Friday evening at 10:30 we received a phone call, “We don’t have anywhere to stay tonight, the place we booked is locked up and no one is answering the phone”.
What do we suggest? “If you can’t find anywhere then give me a call and you can stay with us.” was Ilir’s reply. I gave him that look that wives give their husbands sometimes. You know, the look that says: What did you say that for? Now I have to clean the house and find the spare towels that are hidden at the back of a cupboard somewhere.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
How many times have I read this passage or heard someone preach on it but not really acted on it. I have been willing to donate food to the local food bank or donate my old clothes to charity, but when something is inconvenient, like late at night, or requires some sacrifice I hope that someone else will deal with it so that I don’t have to.
But, if Jesus called and said “I have nowhere to stay” would I turn Him away? No! Of course not, I would welcome Him in with open arms and it would be a joy to prepare a room and to find the guest towels hidden at the back of the cupboard. Our unexpected guests only stayed for one night but it has made me rethink my attitude towards hospitality and these verses in Matthew and Hebrews.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
Hebrews 13:2 (ESV)