Angels May Be Entertained Today. --The Bible lays much stress upon the
practice of hospitality. Not only does it enjoin hospitality as a duty, but it
presents many beautiful pictures of the exercise of this grace and the blessings
which it brings. Foremost among these is the experience of Abraham. . . .
These acts of courtesy God thought of sufficient importance to record in His
word; and more than a thousand years later they were referred to by an inspired
apostle: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have
entertained angels unawares."
The privilege granted Abraham and Lot is not denied to us. By showing
hospitality to God's children we, too, may receive His angels into our
dwellings. Even in our day angels in human form enter the homes of men and are
entertained by them. And Christians who live in the light of God's countenance
are always accompanied by unseen angels, and these holy beings leave behind them
a blessing in our homes.
Neglected Opportunities and Privileges. --"A lover of hospitality"
is among the specifications given by the Holy Spirit as marking one who is to
bear responsibility in the church. And to the whole church is given the
injunction: "Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man
hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good
stewards of the manifold grace of God."
These admonitions have been strangely neglected. Even among those who profess
to be Christians true hospitality is little exercised. Among our own people the opportunity of
showing hospitality is not regarded as it should be, as a privilege and
blessing. There is altogether too little sociability, too little of a
disposition to make room for two or three more at the family board without
embarrassment or parade.
Inadequate Excuses. --I have heard many excuse themselves from inviting to
their homes and hearts the saints of God: "Why, I have nothing prepared; I
have nothing cooked; they must go to some other place." And at that place
there may be some other excuse invented for not receiving those who need
hospitality, and the feelings of the visitors are deeply grieved, and they leave
with unpleasant impressions in regard to the hospitality of these professed
brethren and sisters. If you have no bread, sister, imitate the case brought to
view in the Bible. Go to your neighbour and say: "Friend, lend me three
loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to
set before him."
We have not an example of this lack of bread ever being made an excuse to
refuse entrance to an applicant. When Elijah came to the widow of Sarepta, she
shared her morsel with the prophet of God, and he wrought a miracle and caused
that in that act of making a home for his servant and sharing her morsel with
him, she herself was sustained, and her life and that of her son preserved. Thus
will it prove in the case of many, if they do this cheerfully, for the glory of
Some plead their poor health--they would love to do if they had strength.
Such have so long shut themselves up to themselves and thought so much of their
own poor feelings and talked so much of their sufferings, trials, and
afflictions that it is their present truth. They can think of no one but self, however much others may be in need of sympathy and
assistance. You who are suffering with poor health, there is a remedy for you.
If thou clothe the naked and bring the poor that are cast out to thy house and
deal thy bread to the hungry, "then shall thy light break forth as the
morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily." Doing good is an
excellent remedy for disease. Those who engage in the work are invited to call
upon God, and He has pledged Himself to answer them. Their soul shall be
satisfied in drought, and they shall be like a watered garden, whose waters fail
Blessings Lost by Selfish Exclusiveness. --God is displeased with the selfish
interest so often manifested for "me and my family." Every family that
cherishes this spirit needs to be converted by the pure principles exemplified
in the life of Christ. Those who shut themselves up within themselves, who are
unwilling to drawn upon to entertain visitors, lose many blessings.
Angels are waiting to see if we embrace opportunities within our reach of
doing good--waiting to see if we will bless others, that they in their turn may
bless us. The Lord Himself has made us to differ--some poor, some rich, some
afflicted--that all may have an opportunity to develop character. The poor are
purposely permitted to be thus of God, that we may be tested and proved and
develop what is in our hearts.
When the spirit of hospitality dies, the heart becomes palsied with
To Whom Should Hospitality Be Extended? --Our social entertainments should
not be governed by the dictates of worldly custom, but by the Spirit of Christ
and the teaching of His word. The Israelites, in all their festivities, included the poor, the stranger, and the Levite, who was both
the assistant of the priest in the sanctuary and a religious teacher and
missionary. These were regarded as the guests of the people, to share their
hospitality on all occasions of social and religious rejoicing, and to be
tenderly cared for in sickness or in need. It is such as these whom we should
make welcome to our homes. How much such as welcome might do to cheer and
encourage the missionary nurse or the teacher, the care-burdened, hard-working
mother, or the feeble and aged, so often without a home and struggling with
poverty and many discouragements.
"When thou makest a dinner or a supper," Christ says, "call
not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours;
lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou
makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt
be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at
the resurrection of the just."
These are guests whom it will lay on you no great burden to receive. You will
not need to provide for them elaborate or expensive entertainment. You will need
to make no effort at display. The warmth of a genial welcome, a place at your
fireside, a seat at your home table, the privilege of sharing the blessing of
the hour of prayer, would to many of these be like a glimpse of heaven.
Our sympathies are to overflow the boundaries of self and the enclosure of
family walls. There are precious opportunities for those who will make their
homes a blessing to others. Social influence is a wonderful power. We can use
it, if we will, as a means of helping those about us.
A Refuge for Tempted Youth. --Our homes should be a place of refuge for the
tempted youth. Many there are who stand at the parting of the ways. Every
influence, every impression, is determining the choice that shapes their destiny
both here and hereafter. Evil invites them. Its resorts are made bright and
attractive. They have a welcome for every comer. All about us are youth who have
no home and many whose homes have no helpful, uplifting power, and the youth
drift into evil. They are going down to ruin within the very shadow of our own
These youth need a hand stretched out to them in sympathy. Kind words simply
spoken, little attentions simply bestowed, will sweep away the clouds of
temptations which gather over the soul. The true expression of heaven-born
sympathy has power to open the door of hearts that need the fragrance of
Christlike words and the simple, delicate touch of the spirit of Christ's love.
If we would show an interest in the youth, invite them to our homes, and
surround them with cheering, helpful influences, there are many who would gladly
turn their steps into the upward path.
Preserve Family Simplicity. --When visitors come, as they frequently will,
they should not be allowed to absorb all the time and attention of the mother;
her children's temporal and spiritual welfare should come first. Time should not
be used in preparing rich cakes, pies, and unhealthful viands for the table.
These are an extra expense, and many cannot afford it. But the greater evil is
in the example. Let the simplicity of the family be preserved. Do not try to
give the impression that you can sustain a style of living which is really
beyond your means. Do not try to appear what you are not, either in your table preparations or in your
While you should treat your visitors kindly and make them feel at home, you
should ever remember that you are a teacher to the little ones God has given
you. They are watching you, and no course of yours should direct their feet in
the wrong way. Be to your visitors just what you are to your family every
day--pleasant, considerate, and courteous. In this way all can be educators, an
example of good works. They testify that there is something more essential than
to keep the mind on what they shall eat and drink and wherewithal they shall be
Maintain a Peaceful, Restful Atmosphere. --We would be much happier and more
useful if our home life and social intercourse were governed by the meekness and
simplicity of Christ. Instead of toiling for display to excite the admiration or
the envy of visitors, we should endeavour to make all around us happy by our
cheerfulness, sympathy, and love. Let visitors see that we are striving to
conform to the will of Christ. Let them see in us, even though our lot is
humble, a spirit of content and gratitude. The very atmosphere of a truly
Christian home is that of peace and restfulness. Such an example will not be
An Expense Account Is Kept in Heaven. --Christ keeps an account of every
expense incurred in entertaining for His sake. He supplies all that is necessary
for this work. Those who for Christ's sake entertain their brethren, doing their
best to make the visit profitable both to their guests and to themselves, are
recorded in heaven as worthy of special blessings. . . .
Christ has given in His own life a lesson of hospitality. When surrounded by
the hungry multitude beside the sea, He did not send them unrefreshed to their
homes. He said to His disciples: "Give ye them to eat." Matthew 14:16.
And by an act of creative power He supplied food sufficient to satisfy their
need. Yet how simple was the food provided! There were no luxuries. He who had
all the resources of heaven at His command could have spread for the people a
rich repast. But He supplied only that which would suffice for their need, that
which was the daily food of the fisherfolk about the sea.
If men were today simple in their habits, living in harmony with nature's
laws, there would be an abundant supply for all the needs of the human family.
There would be fewer imaginary wants and more opportunity to work in God's ways.
. . .
Poverty need not shut us out from showing hospitality. We are to impart what
we have. There are those who struggle for a livelihood and who have great
difficulty in making their income meet their necessities; but they love Jesus in
the person of His saints and are ready to show hospitality to believers and
unbelievers, trying to make their visits profitable. At the family board and the
family altar the guests are made welcome. The season of prayer makes its
impression on those who receive entertainment, and even one visit may mean the
saving of a soul from death. For this work the Lord makes a reckoning, saying:
"I will repay."
Awake to Opportunities. --Wake up, brethren and sisters. Do not be afraid of
good works. "Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall
reap, if we faint not." Do not wait to be told your duty. Open your eyes and see who are around you; make yourselves acquainted with the
helpless, afflicted, and needy. Hide not yourselves from them, and seek not to
shut out their needs. Who gives the proofs mentioned in James, of possessing
pure religion, untainted with selfishness or corruption? Who are anxious to do
all in their power to aid in the great plan of salvation?