If I saw God in person along the street, I wonder if I would recognize him? But there is every reason to suppose Abraham had in Genesis 18 v 1 – 5 for God had appeared to Abraham several times before. No wonder he rushed to bring the three men into his tent, and offer them all the hospitality he could muster.
Another person who was given the opportunity to entertain the Lord, was Zacchaeus. He too ‘welcomed him gladly’. Being a tax collector, there was no way he could have offered hospitality, so Jesus made the first move,”Come down immediately. I must stay at your house today,” and how welcome he was!
When I was young, many Christian had a plaque in their dining room stating that, “Christ is the unseen guest at every meal…” Taking that position, I suppose we all have an opportunity every day to entertain the Lord. I think we take his promised presence with us so much for granted; it would do us good to remember he is listening to every conversation.
But there is another very real way we can offer hospitality to God. In Matthew 25 v 34 – 40, the chosen ones are told, “…For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Some years ago, we were struggling to fit into a church socially – there was a bit of ‘in-crowd’ mentality, and we just weren’t ‘in’. As was our normal practice, we invited plenty of people around for a meal to try to build relationships, but the favours were never returned. Then we felt God tell us to invite those who could not invite us back – those who did not have their own homes, or were in student accomodation, or who were too elderly etc. It really blessed us as well as our guests.
Then there are the food banks – in these days of recession, hard times have hit the poorer people big style. Even in the UK, comparatively wealthy as it may be, there are many folk going without adequate food. Many churches are responding by collecting food for well-directed distribution to those in need.
So when God says to you, “Come down immediately. I must stay at your house today,” will you welcome him gladly?