The writer of Hebrews encourages us to show hospitality to strangers and adds “...for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” When the guy in front of us at the McDonalds drive-thru paid for our meal recently, it may have been because he had read that passage and was showing hospitality to strangers. If that was the reason, well, sorry to disappoint, but we are not angels. At least I’m not. Sammie is much closer, but...
Timothy Schmalz created a sculpture which, according to Pope Francis, was “...to remind everyone of the evangelical challenge of hospitality.” The Pope had the sculpture installed at St. Peter’s Square, in 2019, for the 105th World Migrant and Refugee Day.
Dale Evans wrote a book about her and Roy Rogers’ Down Syndrome daughter, Robin, who blessed their hearts for about three years before returning to the Heavenly Father. Dale’s book was titled, ‘Angel Unaware.’
Abraham entreated three strangers to stop by his tent for rest and refreshments. They promised that he and Sarah would have a son in their old age, which they did. Turns out the three strangers were angels or maybe even two angels and the Lord, himself. You can read about it Genesis, chapter 18.
When we hear the phrase “entertaining angels unawares,” those are examples that often come to mind, but Sammie and I recently had an experience when I thought of those words with a slightly different twist.
Brian and Fate did not have wings or white robes, but they definitely filled a role that could qualify them as someone God used to send Sammie and me a message. You did know that our English word, angel, comes from the Greek word, angelos, which literally means messenger...right?
Anyway, my wife and I left Bristol last Saturday afternoon headed for Nashville. Two of our children and family live just east of there, in Mt Juliet. We had been to a memorial service in Mountain City that morning, so we did not want to dilly-dally along the way. A few miles west of Knoxville, we exited I-40, at Lenoir City, and pulled in to Love’s Travel Stop for a break, a few snacks, and gasoline. After pumping gas, I tried to open the rear door to take Sophie, our boxer furbaby, for a walk.
The gate wouldn’t lift. The car wouldn’t start. I couldn’t get the gearshift out of park. I couldn’t even get the key out of the ignition. All of those things are pretty bad signs and caused me much distress and discouragement. When Sammie returned with chips and soda, the hood was raised, and I was searching for the battery. I pretended to be calm, for a moment, then confessed in frustration that I had no idea what we were going to do.
The cashier in the store asked if she could help, and I replied, “Probably not, but I wanted you to know why my car is taking up space at pump 4.”
“Maybe I can help. Let me call our manager.”
That’s where Brian and Fate came in. Manager Brian and Tire Man Fate were with us in less than a minute. They tried to jump start our vehicle and located the battery - if you have 2010 Buick Enclave, the battery is under the floorboard, behind the passenger seat. Our battery had a loose cable, which Fate tightened up, and we were on our way.
If we had stopped at any other service station between Knoxville and Mt Juliet, we would not have found Brian and Fate. I’m convinced the Lord guided us to a place where we found a couple of unlikely angels, and I shared my belief with them.
I hope this will serve as a reminder to all of us to look for opportunities to help folks that may not be able to help themselves and to give thanks for those to whom we are guided by the Father, when we are the ones in need.
--Steve Playl may be reached by email. firstname.lastname@example.org
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