So three young men tell Abraham that in a year’s time, his wife will be pregnant. What’s the big deal. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always a big deal to have a child, but why was this such a big deal to be included in the Bible? Because Sarah is 90 years old, that’s why. Her becoming pregnant is a miracle.
Let me ask you this. What would have happened if Abraham just minded his own business, figured that the three men would probably have enough supplies to get them through to the next stop where they could rest and get something to eat. (Three able-bodied men – between the three of them they must be able to work out something on their own for survival.) Well, there would be no hospitality. And there would be no miracle.
God loves hospitality. Everywhere you look in the Bible, where there is hospitality, there is God. Where there is hospitality, there is a miracle. Look at Adam. Welcomed into the garden of Eden, then he wakes up one day and a woman is formed from one of his ribs. Or being on Noah’s Ark. Everyone who got that hospitality survived through the unsurvivable. The Israelites in the desert let God live with them in the ark of the covenant. A lot of miracles! The people who didn’t let Joseph and pregnant Mary into their living space? They missed out on being hosts to one of the greatest days in human history, Christmas. OK, I think the point is made. Maybe nothing is more God-like than hospitality.
Here in Ecuador, I am a gringo stranger, and I rely on hospitality. One of the villages I go to is called Santa Cecilia. It is a small, new village without a lot in place. No one wanted to go there for ministry. The people know very little about prayer and the sense of religious community. So I gathered up one of the Franciscan sisters here, and we went. And now for the first time in this village there is a catechism class every Saturday filled with children. So the last time I was asking the kids, how many liked Math? Maybe one. How many liked Spanish? One at best. I was surprised. Then, how many like religion class. And wow, everyone smiled with their hands up. They love to come. Now maybe that’s partly because they have a crazy gringo teacher. But I call that a miracle. It’s because they let us in.
God loves hospitality. When you exercise hospitality, He always notices. And He acts.
Get ready for the miracle.
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God. (Jn 1:12)