Entertaining Angels | Hebrews 13

Welcome to Real Life. A man once asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” He basically replied, “Everyone.” Anyone who shows mercy to someone in need is their neighbor.[1]

My father has lived in Slovakia, France, Brazil and America. Yet, for a few years this world traveler was afraid to board an airplane. During one of those years, mom arrived alone at the Cleveland airport for our Christmas visit. Dad stayed home in Daytona Beach.

On New Year’s Day, she called to check in on my dad. He told her this story:

The afternoon of New Year’s Eve, my father had been out running errands and was waiting for a bus home. Being a friendly guy, he struck up a conversation with a stranger at the bus stop. The man had fallen on hard times. He was homeless. Since dad was on his own, he invited the stranger to have dinner with him. They rode the bus home together and dad cooked his whatever’s-in-the-fridge goulash for supper. After eating, they spent the evening watching TV. Eventually, my father fell asleep on the couch. When he awoke to a new day and a new year, the stranger was gone.

Mom was horrified, “You could have been murdered in your sleep. We could have been robbed.” But, the stranger left without taking anything - not food, not a thing from the house, not even my dad’s wallet.

When he was a young man, my father wandered Europe as a homeless refugee after World War II. He slept under the stars on cold nights. He knew what it was to be hungry and broke. He spent holidays alone, far from home and family. It was natural for him to offer food and shelter to a fellow human being in need on New Year’s Eve.

Could the stranger have been an angel in disguise?
“Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!”[2]  
If the stranger was an angel, dad passed the test. Would I pass? Yes, women must be careful. Many warm-hearted, naive women have been harmed or even murdered helping strangers. However, in my carefulness has my heart grown hard towards the downtrodden? Have my ears grown deaf to the Spirit's nudge, “You can help that person”? Have I missed the opportunity to entertain an angel?


Dear Lord, as I enter this new year, keep my heart warm and compassionate in our cynical world. Open my ears to your voice. And give me the wisdom to know when and how to be a neighbor to those in need. May I see your face in the face of a stranger. Amen.

Taking it further:

Help the homeless~

This New Year's blog was originally posted on 12-29-12.

[1] Luke 10:29-37 (Parable of the Good Samaritan)

Comments

  1. My Dear Peggi,

    Again you have touched my heart. This is a wonderful reminder of what the season is all about. I did not know your father comes from Slovakia. I had a beautiful girlfriend, whom I worked with for a few years, who also came from Slovakia. We had the best of times, because her heart was so warm, open, and friendly.

    Many times I too believe that we have the opportunity to entertain angels, and we are not aware of it, because we pass them by or look over them. I have become accustomed to taking a few coins in my pockets that are easy to take out when I go downtown in Hanau. When I pass a homeless person sitting on the street with a hat turned up, asking for a small donation, I put some coins in.

    This has been a hard winter here so far, and we have already had some deaths of homeless people in Germany and in Austria. It breaks my heart every time I hear one of these members of our society has died because of the cold.

    We have here where I live, a circus that is maintained mostly by gypsies. They come once or twice a year, mostly in summer and then the early fall. It never fails, they go from house to house asking for donations, so they can feed the animals and buy food for themselves.

    It is always interesting that on our street the first door they come to is ours. I must admit I always have something to give, and if I don't, I tell them to come back at a given time, because I must go to the bank. In the meantime, they know me by name and one day they came by this year, and I was not at home, and my husband answered the door.

    Normally they avoid him, but this time to their surprise he gave them some coins. As they got ready to leave, they said to him, "Please give your wife greetings from us. We hope she's okay." My husband told them I was well and they left. When I returned home, my husband told me with surprise in his voice, "Patti, even the gypsies know you by name. You are the only person on the street they know." I laughed and gave thanksgiving to God. They are not angels, but acknowledging a person as a human being who deserves respect is one of the most priceless gifts that you can give anyone.

    So, I see your father's gift that evening as being one of the most precious gifts that a human can bestow upon another human being, the respect of sharing what he had by giving from himself.

    Thank you once again for this wonderful story. I enjoyed it tremendously.

    May you have a safe and healthy cross over to 2013, and may the God that we both serve continue to bless you richly in all that you undertake to do.

    I love you.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

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    1. Hi Patricia,

      I am touched by your kindness to "strangers," Patricia. God has given you such a warm, inviting heart. I know that Europeans can be quite prejudiced against gypsies. So glad to hear of your goodness to them (which even rubbed off on your husband :).

      Glad to hear of your Slovak connection, too.
      Love you, friend! Peggi

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  2. Peggi, I admit, I would not have done what your father did. I would have been too afraid. I can only hope I have not passed up an opportunity to entertain an angel. I have certainly wondered about a few strangers I have met over the years, whether or not they were angels. Another thought-provoking post and a wonderful story of courageous compassion. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Linnea, I probably would not have done it either. But, it never fails to move me when I think of my father passing on the kindness he received. I hope and pray that my heart will not harden against those who truly need help. Lord, be our guide.

      Thanks for commenting, dear friend!

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  4. Thank you, Peggi, for sharing this story.

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