“They can’t be in your hearts if they can’t fit in your house,” Pastor Jimmy Muyango explained to his congregation. He was reminding us all that believers are characterized by hospitality.
Hospitality is a hallmark of Rwandan culture. Dalia (pictured center above) is a great example of this principle. As our family grew to love Dalia this summer, we were privileged to host her at Hope Haven Rwanda. And Dalia blessed us by hosting us at her home in Kigali. We’ll never forget walking down the hill from Potters Hand Church, visiting her lovely home, greeting some of her neighbors and getting to know her sister. It was a special day.
In Hebrews 13:1-2, we read: “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” This is such an intriguing passage. If you knew an angel was coming over for dinner, how would you prepare your home? Your heart?
It is invigorating to host a distinguished guest in your home. And the reality is that every single person that we host is important in God’s eyes. They may not be someone who wields immense power, or is highly valued in our culture, but every human bears the “Imago Dei” and has intrinsic value—they are precious in God’s sight.
Dozens of people have expressed to me how delighted they were when they were invited into someone’s home. Sometimes simply extending an invitation breaks down walls and barriers that we may not have recognized. When humans receive an invitation like this, they sense love and warmth from someone who is demonstrating sincere care for them. That is a rare experience for many in our world.
Our family has experienced many happy memories in the company of others. Some of those memories were made inside the walls of our own home and many others were made within other homes. We are learning that God is present in a very special way when someone offers a meal, a place to sit and the promise of a heartfelt conversation. When we stand at the door preparing to walk into a home filled with friends, there is a special energy and excitement in anticipation of good conversations to be shared and friendships to be strengthened. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to matter how impressive the house is or how fine the furnishings are. Matchless moments of hospitality are experienced in some of the simplest settings, but the invitation must be extended.
Is there someone that God may be leading you to invite into your home, perhaps especially during the holiday season? Are there ways for your home to be a platform for shining God’s light into dark world? You never know, you may even end up entertaining an angel!