One of the oft-repeated commands in the Bible for Christians is to love one another. This love should not be a one-time act, but a continuing one. In the Book of Hebrews, we are commanded to “keep on loving each other as brothers” (Heb. 13:1). The love that is demanded of us is no less than a brotherly or sisterly love. While many of us are not related by blood, we are joined together in a special brotherly relationship because of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who redeemed us by his precious blood. Our brotherly relationship will certainly be tested, but whether we endure or not will depend on the love that we have for one another. Therefore, we need to keep on loving one another as brothers, for in doing so, we will not keep a record of wrongs. In fact, our love for each other will cause us to be more forgiving towards one another, because we are brothers and sisters and we all belong to one spiritual family.
But how did our relationship as brothers and sisters start? Today, it gladdens our heart to see that we are surrounded by brothers and sisters in the Lord. We have developed relationships that made us very close to one another. However, if we look back, we were all strangers at one point. We did not know each other, yet God, in his own sovereign timing and design, allowed us to meet. From that initial encounter, a brotherly relationship was developed because we—knowingly or unknowingly—obeyed the Lord’s command: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13:2). Indeed, many of our brothers and sisters today, like angels, have been a blessing to us. We consider them as God’s gift to us. However, if we had snubbed them in that first encounter, they would not be the angels they are today.
The Bible gives us many accounts of people who were extremely blessed because they were loving and entertaining. When Abraham was alone, yet holding onto the promise that he would become the father of many nations, he saw three strangers standing near his tent. He did not consider them as a threat to his household, but quickly welcomed them. He offered them food and drinks and gave them the best service that he could give. He did so without realizing that these visitors were angels of God. Then the Lord said to him, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son” (Gen. 18:10). The Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.
In another case, by entertaining two strangers he found in the town’s square, Lot and his children were saved from destruction. Lot insisted that the two strangers spend the night in his house and not in the square. Not only did he prepare a meal for his guests, but he did his best to protect them from the men of Sodom who wanted to have sex with them. He said in defence of his guests, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing…don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof” (Gen. 19:7-8). These two visitors turned out to be God’s messengers to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of the growing wickedness. They said, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished” (Gen. 19:15). When Lot hesitated, the men grabbed his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. As soon as they were out, the Lord rained down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah. However, his wife looked back and she became a pillar of salt.
From time to time, the Lord will send strangers to us as messengers of blessings. It will go well with us if we entertain them the way Abraham and Lot entertained the strangers that appeared to them. They come for a purpose and our response to them will determine the extent of blessings we will receive. Let us not snub new people that we meet. Instead, let us be more loving, caring and entertaining, because we never know how they can be a blessing to us. They could be God’s angels to minister to us and to bring to us His special blessings. Hallelujah!