“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2 NIV
I love to greet people. Whether it is welcoming them into our home, at church, or in the grocery store, it’s one of the things I miss most from this past year of social distancing. There is just something about offering a warm hello that brings a sense of human kindness and love. I find myself wanting to offer a handshake or even an unmasked smile.
As we came upon a 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 to only focus on our needs.
In the verse above, the writer of Hebrews encourages us to show love, not just to our brothers and sisters, but also to strangers. The words “keep on” and “do not forget” seem to indicate that these acts of kindness were a part of the early Christians’ everyday life.
From the first century to today, the practice of hospitality continues to be an integral part of following Jesus.
Yet, the question remains- how can we practice hospitality in the middle of a pandemic?
Several years ago, I began praying this prayer as I drove into the office every morning: “Lord, help me to leave people better than I found them.” My work at that time involved several interactions with a variety of people each day, some planned and some spontaneous. This simple prayer helped me be mindful of how I could add a smile, a kind word, or some sort of encouragement to help make someone else’s day better. Over the years, I have experienced so much joy from sharing God’s love and kindness with the people that cross my path.
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.
God created us with the capacity to love. Let’s share that love through practicing hospitality with those around us.
Written by Melissa Henderson, Guest Contributor