Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. ESV Hebrews 13:2
At prayer time tonight, Chris and I were discussing the encounters we have with people throughout the day. He had a rough day with some of his interactions at work, and I had two of my three appointments cancel on me. While tempted to get frustrated with people, we encouraged each other that every interaction with people is an interaction with someone created in the image of God, marred by sin, and loved by Christ. His difficult interactions with coworkers were interactions with sinners in need of the gospel. My interactions with people cancelling appointments were interactions with sinners in need of the gospel (actually one was supposed to come by and film their baptism testimony…this sinner had encountered the gospel!). Our interaction together encouraged us each to continue to love each person God brought across our path.
The author of Hebrews reminds us sometimes, the strangers we encounter are actually angels. In the Bible “angel” means messenger, so this could be just regular people God has entrusted with a message for us. Or perhaps it means an actual angel straight from heaven (appearing in human form). Regardless, we must have the heart of Jesus toward all strangers who cross our paths. Only the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives can make us sensitive to each person God brings our way. Hence, we should begin each day praying for sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, especially involving strangers we meet throughout the day. The checker at the grocery store, the cop running the speed trap, the strange coworker in the cubicle by the water cooler, the irate parent at the IEP meeting, the TSA officer at the airport…one of them just may be an angel…or messenger from God. In this way, we may even encounter a cussing, irate angel! (Just think of what God could teach us from that!)
Ask God to soften your heart to the stranger. Ask Him to make you keenly aware of their presence. Remember we were strangers to Christ and He died for us. May we have His love and compassion on other strangers, and encounter angels each day.