Let’s read Hebrews 13:1-2, “Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it” (NASB). One of the ways we, as believers, can “let brotherly love continue,” is through showing hospitality to our dear brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to remember that everything we have, including our homes, have been given to us by our blessed Lord and we are to use them for His honor and glory. We should be ready and willing to open up our homes to the family of God. We have this same exhortation given to us in Romans 12:13, “Contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”

We also learn here that showing hospitality to our fellow believers includes “strangers”; that is, those who we may have never met before. The Apostle John touches on this same subject in 3rd John 5-8, “Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and FOR STRANGERS, who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we many become fellow workers for the truth.” John is speaking here specifically of receiving missionaries who are traveling throughout the world proclaiming God’s Word. We should be ready to help them “on their journey” by putting them up in our homes, feeding them, and perhaps even assisting them financially as they go on to their next destination. By doing so we are not only demonstrating God’s LOVE, but we “become fellow workers for the TRUTH.” What a privilege it is to “show hospitality to strangers,” and this would include any believer with whom we are not acquainted, not just missionaries.

I’m sure the inquirer was especially wondering about the last line, “For by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Is this to be taken literally? Well, there is a wonderful story in the Bible that illustrates this. I’m speaking of the time when Abraham and Sarah opened up their home to three strangers and it turned out that two of them were ANGELS and the third one was the Lord Himself! You can read about this in Genesis 18:1-15. In the very next chapter, Lot was visited by these same angels (though he thought they were merely strangers) and he too opened up his home to them (Genesis 19:1-3). I don’t believe we should rule out the possibility of this happening today, but even if we are never privileged to have these “heavenly guests” in our home, we can still be blessed by entertaining Christians who are not known to us. My wife and I have experienced having “strangers” staying in our home and they have been a real blessing to us and to our children as they exerted a godly influence on our whole family. The word “angel” means “messenger” and I can’t tell you what an unspeakable blessing it has been to have a man (or woman) of God imparting to us precious truth (as God’s “messenger”) while we gave them a roof over their head and food for their stomach. We fed them with literal food and they fed us with spiritual food, the Word of God! (312.4) (DO)