having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
After Mary and Jim married and moved into their first apartment, they decided to set aside a room in which to host others. I became a beneficiary of their warm hospitality on a teaching trip. They welcomed me, a stranger, into their home and showered me with love.
The practice of hospitality is central in Scripture. Jesus received hospitality from those He ministered to (Mark 2:15-16, 14:3; Luke 7:36). Sisters Mary and Martha of Bethany opened their home to Jesus (Luke 10:38), and He probably stayed in their home each time He came to Jerusalem (Matthew 21:17; Luke 21:37).
The apostle John cited an example of a believer who hosted traveling teachers. Although strangers to him, Gaius gave them a place to stay. He was commended for his cheerful and loving hospitality: “You are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth” (3 John 1:5-8).
We may not be missionaries or traveling Bible teachers. But we can partner with them and others who need our hospitality. Peter wrote, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other . . . . Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay” (1 Peter 4:8-9). And the apostle Paul urges us to “always be eager to practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13).
Our generous, loving God can provide what we need to show hospitality to those in need.
Asking for Help
From: Timothy G Bishop and Deborah L Bishop, authors
After bicycling 300 miles in the prior four days on TheHopeLIne Tour of 2014, Debbie and I took a rest day. The following morning, we couldn’t wait to hop on I-90 to begin another day’s adventure. We’d discovered afternoons in Wyoming could bring lively thunderstorms, so an early start might help avoid trouble. Once we had oiled the chains, we were about to leave when suddenly I heard:
I looked around and saw two boys approaching us, one of whom was walking a bicycle. As an elementary school teacher, Debbie estimated them to be fourth graders. The boy walking the bicycle had gotten himself into a pickle. He was carrying a cloth shopping bag with one bottle of water in it. The bag and bottle were caught in the front brake assembly of the bicycle.
“Can you get this bottle out for us?” he said with a tinge of panic in his voice.
I had never seen anything like it before. The water bottle was stuck fast against the rim and brake pad. No matter how hard they had tried, the boys weren’t able to pull it out.
I applied some token pressure to see what it might take to loosen the bottle, but it wasn’t going to come out without some brute force. Then came Plan B. I reached into the bag, unscrewed the bottle cap, and let some water out. Immediately, the bottle came free, and the bag came with it.
From my vantage point, however, we had a larger problem on our hands. The pressure from the water bottle plus the boys yanking on the bottle had misaligned the brake. One of its pads was rubbing against the wheel rim.
Now, I was panicking! Even though Debbie and I have cycled more than 10,000 miles across America, I’m not a good mechanic.
“Do you know anyone who knows how to fix bikes?” I asked.
“Our neighbor can help us with this. At least I can ride it now. Thanks for your help.”
I quickly deferred the repair job to this person I had never met before. I knew better than to trust my mechanical skills with a brake adjustment on someone else’s bicycle.
Everyone brings something unique to life. Each of us has skills that others lack. Eventually, all of us will encounter a problem that we cannot resolve on our own.
Responsibility and self-sufficiency are worthy traits, but God never meant for us to handle our burdens alone. Galatians 6:2 ESV says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Yet no one can come to another person’s aid unless the person in need is willing to ask for and accept help.
Asking for help requires humility. We’re acknowledging that someone else is either more capable or in a better position than we are to solve our problem. James 4:10NKJV offers a promise that makes it easier to ask for help: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
Later that day, Debbie and I got ourselves into a pickle! A flat tire on the interstate cost us an hour. After lunch and a phone call, we faced a travel dilemma. We could try to beat the ominous clouds headed our way or wait out the storm.
We decided to go for it. Twenty miles later, adrenaline helped us race for safety amid lightning bolts and driving rain. We made it to a small town, stopped at a convenience store, and asked for help. A kind person came to our aid by offering us indefinite shelter from the storm.
Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, then praise Him— He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes. The actual evidence of the answer in time is simply a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you may have said, “I asked God to give me bread, but He gave me a stone instead” (see Matthew 7:9). He did not give you a stone, and today you find that He gave you the “bread of life” (John 6:35).
A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that His stillness is contagious— it gets into you, causing you to become perfectly confident so that you can honestly say, “I know that God has heard me.” His silence is the very proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will always bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of His silence. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of His intimacy— silence.