Abraham's Hospitality
Today I would like us to consider an event from the life of Abraham, for I believe it sheds some light on a certain New Testament command. Let us begin by reading Genesis 18:1-8:
"Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from his tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, and said, 'My Lord, if I have now found favor in your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.' They said, 'Do as you have said.' So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, 'Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.' And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it. So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them, and he stood by them under the tree as they ate."

Abraham's hospitality here is worthy of our consideration and emulation. As the Hebrews writer says - "Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels" (Heb. 13:1,2). A careful study of Abraham's actions and words in the beginning of Genesis 18 indicates that he was unaware as to the true identity of his guests. He certainly wouldn't have offered food had he known his visitors included angels and deity Himself!

Of course, Abraham's behavior is even more impressive in this light. He treated perfect strangers with kindness and great honor! This is seen in his running to greet them, in his bowing to the ground respectfully, in his offering refreshment to them at his own expense, and in his hurrying to provide the food as quickly as possible. Abraham was truly a hospitable man! He didn't treat the strangers as an unwanted interruption to his day. He didn't ignore them or complain to his wife about them popping in unexpectedly. He treated them like family! He was happy to serve them humbly, and that is just one reason why Abraham is so great.

What about us, friends? If we treat our fellow human beings as Abraham did--with unhesitating kindness and generosity--we will be in a better position to truly reach weary souls with the refreshing message of the gospel of Christ! There are any number of excuses that we can come up with today as to why we shouldn't be hospitable ("It's not safe"; "You can't trust people anymore"; "I just don't have time"; "My house isn't clean enough"; etc.). These excuses may help sooth our consciences, but they aren't reasons for disobeying the Lord!

Those who would be shepherds in the Lord's church must be hospitable (cf. Titus 1:8). In other words, they must love and be friendly to strangers. However, hospitality is not just expected of leaders. Romans 12:13 instructs all Christians to pursue hospitality! Hospitality helps establish and strengthen friendships. Let us always remember the golden rule (cf. Matt. 7:12). Picture how you'd like to be treated, and then let that be your guide.

Our world of wickedness isn't that much different now than it was in Abraham's day (e.g., Gen. 19), and Abraham didn't allow fear or the inconvenience of being hospitable to stop him from doing the right thing. Dear listeners, how are you pursuing hospitality in your life?