The LORD appeared to Abraham…in the heat of the day (v. 1). Revelations seldom seem to come when we’re comfortable. The Lord didn’t appear while Abraham was enjoying a cool dip in the lake, for example.
God shows up as a trio—as three guys on a hot, dusty road trip. Abraham’s response when he sees them is hospitality. Did he know that these three guys were, you know…God? I have no idea. But he knew that they felt hot; that their feet were tired; and they likely needed a meal. Abraham is a veteran road warrior himself; he knows what it’s like to be in search of a decent dinner and a safe, comfortable place to sleep.
Abraham does what we all hope a kind stranger will do for us when we’re wandering around on the road trip of life with no reliable cartography: he offers passing strangers a place to relax, a meal, a beverage.
Hospitality doesn’t always have to occur in your own home. I’m a road warrior. 100K miles and 100 nights away is a typical year. Because traveling requires a lot of effort, it is (paradoxically, given the close quarters) easy to ignore others while in transit. Over recent months, I’ve endeavored to be less closed during my travels, more observant of others. Sometimes that means an offer to help with a bag, give directions, or provide a kind word and smile. Doing this has led me to touching and meaningful moments with an intrepid traveler from China, a confused lawyer from Italy, a new mom from south Texas, and a soldier returning from Afghanistan. Travelers all, in need of hospitality.
I love that Abraham doesn’t ignore these three and that, in the welcoming of strangers, he encounters God.
How can I develop the awareness—and the courage—to help the stranger?
Thank you, God, for the hospitality that strangers and friends have shown me. Help me recognize that the stranger who crosses my path may need my help. Amen.