S206P9 – How soon we forget: the service of friends and strangers

Heb. 13:2-3

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them‒those who are mistreated‒since you yourselves are in the body also.

When it comes to our acts of service, there are three different kinds of servers.  I have known some who love to do good works for the brethren and help out within the body every chance they get, but their service seems to stop there at the church doors.  I have known others whose service regularly focuses on those outside the Church who they do not know, strangers on the street or on the other side of the world, but they do not necessarily feel a prompting to serve within the body.  I have known still others who will lend a hand or a meal or a prayer to anyone who asks, and these are the servers I have encountered the most.  For that I thank God because practicing both kinds of service are necessary for our generosity to be complete as his is.

This letter to the Hebrew believers gives us specific reasons why we are to practice both kinds of service.  In all plainness, the only compelling reason we need in order to follow this instruction is that it is good, holy, and pleasing to God for us to give to both strangers and those who are part of the body of Christ.  Although we do not need more reason than that, we see here some added incentives to practicing this correctly.  There are angels among us, and we have the ability to interact with them even without knowing it.  That is a literal blessing in disguise, and we would be wise to take advantage of these opportunities not only to interact with heavenly beings but also to show our Father that we can give freely as He gives.  Also, our service to our brothers and sisters comes with the sensible observation that we are all part of one body.  When our brothers and sisters are in need, we are in need, and in meeting their needs we also meet our own.

There is nothing wrong with concentrating on supporting the Church and building her members through encouragement and service, but that cannot be the only way that we give.  Likewise, having a missionary-minded attitude where service makes us think of evangelism and reaching the lost is not a bad thing, but that cannot be the only way that we serve.  We must be able to marry these two practices together in order for us to live as Christ lived and serve as He served.  The point here is that we cannot forget either class of people in need.  Our service and generosity must be boundless, but we can get there only through proper practice.  Father, remind us of the reasons why we are to give freely as You gave so that we would follow this instruction and be more like You.