The Reading: Genesis 18:1-15
“Sarah your wife shall have a son” (v.10) RSV
So often the demands of our God might at first seem a bit of a bind. We would rather do something else. However, as ever, to follow the rules of life is not only a blessing to others, but it is also a blessing to ourselves. God is no man’s debtor; we cannot out-give God.
Abraham had been waiting for 24 years to have a son and heir. He was now desperately old and so was his wife, Sarah. When he was sitting under an oak tree three unknown visitors arrived. Abraham’s immediate reaction was to press them to stay and to offer hospitality. The results of this were that he and his wife received a prophetic word assuring them that within a year they would be parents!
Similarly, when the two who were returning to Emmaus after the crucifixion were met by a stranger, they entered into deep and fascinating conversation. When they arrived at their home the stranger made as if to go on, but they pressed him to stay (Luke 24:28-29). As a result of this they saw him break bread and their eyes were opened to behold the risen Christ. What a blessing!
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews also gives one of the benefits of loving our neighbour (especially strangers and needy people). He writes: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2). He may well have been referring to the visitation of the three emissaries sent by God to Abraham (vv.1,2).
If we do not love our neighbour as Jesus loved us, then our heart shrinks and we start to live only for ourselves and our family. But as we learn to love our neighbour as ourselves, who knows what benefits will follow or what doors may open? So let us widen our boundaries and expand our loving.
Thank you Lord for my neighbour. May I love each one, just as you love me, for your name’s sake. Amen.
1 What benefit did Rahab the harlot receive for hiding the spies?
2 What is Paul’s summary of the Second Commandment?