Saturday, April 18, 2015

Strangers....or Angels?

I am preparing to teach a lesson on “hospitality” to a group of young Christian women.  I love having these opportunities and this particular topic is intriguing because God has given me the spiritual gift of hospitality.   And the icing on the cake…. He has blessed me with a husband who also loves to use our home (and his hunting camp) for God’s purposes.

Several years ago Charlie and I decided to head out on a bike ride.  It was Labor Day weekend, summer was winding down, it was a beautiful day and we knew the ideal bike “weather” was on the decline.  For “whatever” reason, instead of our usual route, we headed toward a different area of town.

We were out by the fairgrounds and a couple approached us on their bikes.  We did not know them but through a brief observation it was clear they were doing some traveling.  They had packs on their bikes and they “looked” like your average middle age couple….nothing strange about them.  (This statement will be significant as this story unfolds.)

They asked us for directions to the Ludington Hotel, which is a lovely historic hotel on the other end of town – close to our home.  Since we were heading that way, we suggested they follow us.  So, we got back on our bikes and started peddling.

 I’m not sure what came over me (must have been one of those thoughts God plants in the brain; the unexplainable, where-did-that-come-from kind of thought!) but I turned to my husband and said, “How about we invite them to stay with us?”  WOW!  Did I just say that?  But just as amazing was Charlie’s reply... "sure"! 

So we stopped our bikes, turned around and Charlie said something like, “If I could be so bold, would you like to come and stay with us?” They looked at each other and said…. “sure”!  Just like that!  It was at this point that we made our first introductions.  They were Kathy and Dan from the Chicago area and were doing a bike trip around Lake Michigan.  They were hoping to stay at the Ludington Hotel for the night but had not been able to reach them by phone.

Charlie and I still laugh over that time and we have wonderful memories of Kathy and Dan.  They came to our home, took a shower and insisted on taking us out for dinner.  We loved that idea too!  Where we live, we can walk to all sorts of places so we headed to a restaurant; afterward we walked the park, beach, yacht harbor loop.  We ran into people we knew (classic small town stuff) and each time, we introduced K and D as our brand new, just-met-a-few-hours-ago friends!  (… and they were staying with us overnight!)   

We learned that Kathy taught in a nursing program at a local nursing school and Dan was a child psychologist.  She had part ownership in a sailboat and he in an airplane.  We walked and talked and shared.  That night we put them up in our guest bedroom and after all lights were out, I realized I had never put sheets on the trundle bed that slips underneath the other bed!  I knocked on the guest room door and apologized for the bare bed; they were giggling and said they were stretching the sheets that were there.  Yikes!  I handed them more sheets and we all had a good laugh.

The next morning Charlie fixed a big breakfast and they were off on their bikes once again, this time heading to Menominee.  Later Kathy emailed and thanked us; she said they had some harrowing experiences with trucks on the highway but just knew I was praying for them!

The Bible tells us we are to entertain strangers….and that we may be entertaining angels, unawares.  (Hebrews 13: 1, 2)  Hmmm.  That’s an interesting thought.  Whatever the reason for our “divine appointment” with this delightful couple, we are thankful God opened our hearts, our minds and subsequently, our home.  God, in His sovereignty, has great plans and wonderful adventures in mind for us.  I want to be ready for those unexpected opportunities!

The Bible also tells us that when we love and serve one another, it’s as though we are loving and serving Jesus.  Even though Jesus, in the flesh, is not likely to knock on my front door, I love the idea of showing Him hospitality through loving and serving those “angels” He places in my life.  When Charlie and I were married almost 11 years ago, we agreed we wanted to offer our home to God, for His use.  Although we could do so much more, we love how God has offered us many opportunities to use our home (and Charlie’s deer camp) to love and serve others in His name.

Let’s open our doors and welcome both brothers and sisters in the faith, as well as “sojourners” and strangers.  Do it wisely and with discernment, of course, but I challenge you to be ready to entertain Him….by being hospitable to those He sends your way.





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