Entertaining Angels Unaware

There are messages God wants to get to you. And sometimes, He will use the most unlikely methods and the most unlikely people to get those messages delivered. 

I love how the Amplified Bible captures this verse in Hebrews. Even if you’re familiar with it, I invite you to read this translation of it slowly and take it in:

Do not neglect to extend hospitality to strangers [especially among the family of believers—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2 AMP

Another word for “angel” is “messenger”. While this verse can certainly be interpreted to mean messengers from heaven, as in the angels of the Lord, more generally, it means messengers who have been sent by God. So really, it can mean anyone. Anyone who God uses to deliver a message He’s trying to get across to us. It can mean a random person we run into at the coffee shop. Someone we pass by in the grocery store. A neighbor we rarely talk to. The person standing at the gas pump next to us at the service station. And yes, even a child.

But notice the key to positioning ourselves to receive these messages: Generosity. Hospitality. Giving and living with an open hand and an open heart. Keeping an open room in our home. Having an open plate at our table. Serving others with what is in our hand to give. The Word of God says, do not neglect living this way. Or as some translations put it, do not forget to live this way. Because generosity attracts the ways of the kingdom of heaven. Generosity attracts revelation. 

Far too often, we overthink what this looks like. Yes, we can plan for events where we host people and parties, etc. And those things are great! But I think this verse is also calling us to act upon the more spontaneous gestures of hospitality. To make room for the unexpected. What I hear in this verse is:

Be interruptible.
Be alert.
Look up and around.
Live with an expectancy that God is going to speak to you, and that He will oftentimes speak through others.

And then, listen. The words are not always going to come as a phrase you can jot down (though sometimes they will). Many times the “messages” you receive from these “angels” or “messengers” will be in what God shows you through the person.

Think about it. When God wanted to communicate the greatest message of all to the world…..the Word…took on flesh. The message became a Person. Sadly, He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. There was no room for Him in the inn. The only ones that benefited from His life and His message were the ones who made room in their hearts to receive Him.

Bottom line, if we want to hear from God, we have to make room to. And while it’s good to set aside time where we can pray, worship and get alone before God, we must remember that He doesn’t always speak in the same way. Very often, He places people in our path. The messenger becomes the message. But we must “remember” to live with an open heart and an open hand. Giving out of what we have – not focusing on what we don’t have. And know that as we hand it out in slices…it will come back in loaves.

Linda G. Riddle