Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,Hebrews 13:2 NASB
for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
It’s rare these days that I encounter strangers. But it does happen. I’ve been negligent, forgotten that angels approach when least expected.
What hospitality do I show to strangers I encounter? So many people, so many in need. A smile. A friendly greeting and parting blessing. Some seem to need to talk, to have someone listen. Do I take the time with them they need?
Once, at a truck stop in East St. Louis, I spoke briefly with a man one evening and I handed him a “Road Home: New Testament for Truckers.” He looked at me for a second. Then he said he’d just been told by his wife that he needed to read the Bible. Good timing! G-d’s timing!
When someone asks for money, I must consider carefully what G-d would want provide. Sometimes I hand over money, if requested. Once I bought a man a couple of hot dogs to eat, rather than giving money. Some times I give nothing, for I don’t always carry cash. Lately I’ve seen some people at the side of the road with signs like “Work for Food.” I stop and hand over whatever comes to mind. Often five or ten dollars.
The most memorable encounters are those at restaurants. At restaurants, sitting with open Bible, I’ve been approached by people. Sometimes the conversation has been a great blessing. For when two Children of G-d gather together. . . Well, it’s church.
It was like that with Warren, whom I met in Sacramento, California. Warren saw me reading the Bible, and said, “That’s a great book. . . except those words in red.” He laughed at the look on my face. He loved the Lord, and took the words of Jesus, printed in red in my Bible, very seriously. We had a lovely time talking. He told how his pastor was asking for mentors during a Sunday service. His wife asked the pastor what was required of a mentor. The pastor replied, “someone who’s made a lot of mistakes and is willing to share them.” Warren’s wife said, “That’s Warren,” and promptly volunteered him.
There are other encounters, however, that are more difficult, challenging, requiring careful discernment. Jude writes: “And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” (Jude 1:22-23 NASB)
Not long ago a man approached, seeing me reading the Bible, and said he had a question for me when I finished eating. Not waiting to complete my meal, I invited him to join me. He did so, bringing his desert to my table, as he’d already eaten. He said he’d asked many pastors which church to attend, and they’d all said their particular church was the true one. He then said, “What do you say is the true church?” I didn’t hesitate, saying that the church isn’t a place or an institution, but is the Body of the Christ, his people, on Earth.
We spoke of many things, and he began to tell me how he’d found no real Christians in his travels. I offered some examples, which were immediately refuted. I felt the Spirit of G-d within me reminding me of my status as a Child of G-d, and to guard my heart. As we talked, I became aware that he had a script of things he would say. He’d ask a question. I’d answer. Regardless of the answer, he explain his version of a scripture, then say if I’d read the Bible, I’d know the correct answer.
It came to me that I was not to argue with this man. I was also not to be led away from my own faith to follow his path. We are told by Y’shuaJesus, “Take heed that no one deceives you.” (Matthew 24:7) Paul wrote, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel. . .” (Gal 1:8). And Peter warns us to “watch for false. . . swelling words that are empty.” (2 Pet 2:18) We are to “test the spirits. . .” (1John 4:1) and “all things, hold fast what is good.” (1Thes 5:21)
Each encounter is an opportunity to give, receive, and grow. Each encounter with others is a moment in time to be a beacon of light in a dark world. It is also a moment to grow closer to our Lord, for His Spirit fills us and will guide us into all truth.
Lord watch over us. Let Your light shine upon our feet and our path. Fill our hearts with Your Spirit.
L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine. . .