Genesis 18 speaks of Abraham “entertaining” three holy men. As soon as he sees them Abraham immediately asks the angels to stay and begins to prepare the best meal in the house. Verse 4 says, “Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.” He also promises to get them some bread and a chance to comfort their hearts.
These verses suggest that the men did not come in full glory with white and delightsome clothing, but as weary, travel-stained men who looked dusty (water to wash their feet) and tired (rest here for awhile and receive comfort.)
The apostle Paul told the saints of his day to “be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2)
I remembered an incident many years ago when I stopped at a gas station and quickly ran in to grab a soda. People were coming in and out and as I grabbed the door to enter I paused momentarily to hold it open for the man who was following me in. I could tell by the way he smelled and a little off balance that he had had more than one drink that day.
I grabbed my soda and stood in line to pay. The man whom I held the door open for had already paid for his 6-pack and had stepped off to the side of the cash register, waiting. When my turn arrived and I set my soda down this man tossed a dollar bill onto the counter and said, “Here. This is for the lady’s sodie pop.”
I was taken aback. I stuttered a bit but finally managed to say (most heartfelt), “Thank you!”
He turned, walked out the door, and needless to say I never saw him again. But that man touched my heart in a most unexpected, extraordinary way.
Could a scruffy, worn out, three-sheets-to-the-wind guy really be an angel in disguise? Who knows? The point is not to try and guess which of God’s servants is playing undercover, it’s that we who are NOT undercover are to use every opportunity to act as His servant.
Holding the door open for someone isn’t necessarily a conscious act, but often we consciously distance ourselves from people whom we (let’s be honest) feel superior to, a little better than, or pull away from someone we don’t feel completely comfortable around. But when we stop worrying about how someone dresses, how they smell, or judging them by the mistakes they have made (and are still making) and instead start looking into their eyes, we will see that behind the trials, pain, and choices that they are just like us – children of God. They are our brother and our sister and no amount of kindness is too small.
I was entertained that day in a tiny little gas station by a humble man who was thick in the middle of his mistakes, but with one simple gesture he made me feel like an angel.
When have you felt yourself stepping out of your comfort zone to serve either a stranger or someone you know?