When we lived in Argentina, we sporadically, experienced some hostility because we were Americans. For example, people would ask us how in the world we could be a part of the U.S. political system.
Judy and I had to be careful and remember we were not there to be apologists for the U.S. government. Each time we experienced such encounters, we were reminded that we were far away from our real home.
As you might imagine, other Americans would travel to Argentina. Occasionally, acquaintances of ours would call and ask us to host friends or relatives. These folks were strangers to us, but people we knew loved them. Their pilgrim friends were going to be far away from home; they needed a friendly place to stay.
I remember one time a co-worker in the Lord, living in another part of Argentina, called to tell us about his cousin. The cousin was studying to earn a Ph.D. in anthropology, as I recall; the student and his wife planned on spending an extended amount of time researching in Argentina. Our fellow missionary was hoping Judy and I could host his cousin (and cousin’s wife) for a two-week visit.
Question: what if an acquaintance called you and asked if a cousin and his wife could come stay with you for two weeks? Would you be happy with that request?
We agreed, and, guess what? We thoroughly enjoyed the two-week visit. I have pleasant memories of long conversations, meals in the city, watching movies and sporting events on TV--two weeks of intimately sharing life.
I think there were several reasons why we enjoyed their company. Here are two:
1. They were nice people (not to mention very interesting.)
2. These were people who, as Americans, shared a common background a common culture, and common values. Interestingly enough, in the U.S., we would not have maintained that much in common. They were from the Midwest, Judy and I were from Texas. They were Methodists, we were Restorationists. However, in a foreign land, those differences melted. The four of us retained our citizenship in another place, which was our bond.
I reminisced about this the other day when reading Hebrews 13:1-2, “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!”
These verses reflect a time when God’s people were living in a land hostile to their faith. Christians were the outsiders. Christian strangers who were traveling needed a safe haven in a hostile town. In those days, the society did not offer many reputable motels or inns. Consequently, when you found a fellow pilgrim who had no place to stay, you offered your home to him.
From my small taste of being an outsider living in a foreign land, I would wager that the Christians who opened up their homes and offered hospitality enjoyed a byproduct of sweet blessing. After all, they were citizens-not of this world-but of heaven.
Let me encourage you if you live in a place where a Christian could use some good hospitality-for whatever reason-to welcome him or her. Your guest will be blessed, and you just might be too.
Five Things I Think I Think (with a nod to Peter King for this idea)
1. I still like Adele, and I think “Someone Like You” will, in the future, be considered one of the truly great love songs. It has haunting lyrics and a melancholy melody.
2. If “Pro Bowl” were a corporate brand, the Better Business Bureau’s “Report a Scam” would overload today.
3. Here’s my Super Bowl pick: Giants 24-Patriots 17.
4. I’ve started rereading THE LAST LION, William Manchester’s first volume of his biography on Winston Churchill. Churchill—what an amazing/fascinating man.
5. I am looking forward to preaching out of Deuteronomy on Sunday nights. I think those who join me will be blessed, as I know I will.