In 1987, our family moved to California to take up the pastorate of a church in the Long Beach area. The day we flew into town, my secretary picked us up at the airport to take us to our house. As we pulled into traffic, the very first thing I saw was a bumper sticker that read: “Welcome To California . . . Now Go Home!” It was not exactly a warm and cheery welcome to sunny southern California!
I wonder if there might be occasions in our lives when we send similar signals to people around us. Whether we are at church, in the neighborhood, or at social gatherings, are there times when we fail to make others feel welcome in our world?
In Romans 12:13, Paul instructed his readers to be “given to hospitality.” The book of Hebrews goes even further, saying, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels” (13:2). By showing gracious kindness to those who come our way, we echo the Savior’s invitation for salvation, which declares, “Let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).
To show someone loving hospitality just might be the first step in showing that person the way to heaven.
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed;
Unto your mission be true. —Wilson