Let brotherly love continue. Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it. Hebrews 13:1-2
This year’s scripture study is proving fun, interesting and eye-opening for me. Even though I’m picking each scripture out randomly each week, I’m certainly noticing a theme God is weaving together. If you look back over the past several weeks of this scripture study, they have all been focused on love (brotherly love). I adore how God works in the details to teach, love and open our eyes to new things when we are seeking Him. He will always honor hearts that seek Him and “tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3
So, let’s dig into these verses from Hebrews and see what He has in store for us today. Although the author of this book was writing to the Hebrew people, as usual, we can glean a lot for ourselves. Just like in these verses from Hebrews, we see the term “brotherly love” throughout the Bible. What exactly is it? What does it really mean? Should we love each other like brothers do? Some brothers don’t even like one another. This phrase “brotherly love” is explaining that we should love one another because we ARE brothers (and sisters). You know that saying “you get to pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family”? Sometimes, it’s only because we are a family that we can find the reconciliation, peace, forgiveness and love to offer those who hurt us, take a wayward path or cause destruction in our hearts. Brotherly love means we should look at everyone who is a believer as a family member and love them in such a way. Learning to extend our idea of family offers us the opportunity to love the body of Christ the way He desires for us to love one another. Think about it. I know it’s easier for me to give my close family the benefit of the doubt, another chance to do the right thing and to extend forgiveness when they have done something hurtful. The grace and love we offer our immediate family is the same grace and love we are called to give those in the body of Christ, no matter how different we look. Consider an adopted family. They don’t all look the same, but the amazing love of a family is there and holds them together. As it should be with all of us who have been adopted into a family of believers under Christ Jesus.
Hospitality is one of my spiritual gifts. There is nothing more fun than filling up my house with friends and feeding them. It feeds my soul. Many of us are like that, but hospitality to strangers can be a different thing. Extending love or a helping hand to someone we have never met and may never cross paths with again may seem strange or make us uncomfortable. Years ago, I also struggled with this and didn’t make the time to reach out when given an opportunity. However, as I’ve grown in my faith, I now see these opportunities to be an answer to prayer for one of God’s children. Looking at it through His eyes changes my perspective and my desire to be a part of His great plan grows deeper and deeper.
These angels that are mentioned in Hebrews could be referring to human messengers from God or Godly beings sent from Heaven, either way, it’s amazing to consider. In the Old Testament Abraham, Joshua and Jacob all encountered “ angels as guests without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2) I urge you to take some time and look back on some of those stories this week.
When we begin to practice brotherly love and show hospitality to everyone we meet, God will show up and show off in incredibly amazing ways. After experiencing the amazing responses of so many over the years, my eyes and heart are always looking for another opportunity. Most of the time, kindness is received with such surprise and gratitude it’s overwhelming, but other times, it’s met with resistance and anger. That’s ok too. Don’t give up if you don’t get the response you were expecting. It’s not about that. It’s about obedience in showing love. You never know what a bit of kindness will do to a broken and weary heart over time. Our love and kindness is always planting, nourishing or growing a seed planted in the heart of God’s children.