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“My lord, . . . stop here for a while. Rest in the
shade of this tree while water is brought to wash
your feet. . . . Let me prepare some food to
refresh you before you continue on your
I was leaving the Guangzhou train station with
my ticket when I noticed a distraught Westerner
bewildered by the long and jagged lines forming
around her. I realized that she must be new to China
because she apparently didn’t know that train stations
often have ticket offices reserved especially for
foreigners. I told her to follow me and I led her to a
special room where she easily bought a ticket. Along
the way, I learned that she was a Christian. She was so
grateful for my help that she asked if I was an angel!
I laughed and said that I was only a human with a
bit more experience in China, but she may have had
a point. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Don’t forget to show
hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this
have entertained angels without realizing it!” While this
is true, as Gideon and Manoah discovered in Judges
6 and 13, it’s also true that the person who extends
hospitality is himself a kind of angel.
The term angel means “messenger,” and it’s not a
stretch to think that God sent me to the Guangzhou train
station at that time to help His child who was in distress.
Scripture repeatedly commands us to be on the lookout
for others. Paul writes, “When God’s people are in need,
be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice
hospitality” (Romans 12:13). Peter adds, “Cheerfully
share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay” (1 Peter 4:9).
And Jesus explained that when we feed and clothe the poor, we are feeding and
clothing Him (Matthew 25:37-40).
In light of God’s emphasis on hospitality, I’m glad that I was mistaken for an
angel. But I’m sad that it’s happened only once. —Mike Wittmer
Read 3 John 5-11 to
discover the importance
of hospitality in the early
church. Also see 2 Kings
4:10 to catch a view of it
in the Old Testament.
Martin Luther said that
when we serve others we
are the “mask of God.”
How might this fill our
hospitality with purpose?
How have you been an
“angel” to someone?
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