God appeared to Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent. It was the HOTTEST part of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing. He RAN from his tent to greet them and bowed before them. He said, "Master, if it pleases you, stop for a while with your servant. I'll get some water so you can wash your feet. Rest under this tree. I'll get some food to refresh you on your way, since your travels have brought you across my path." They said, "Certainly. Go ahead." Abraham HURRIED into the tent to Sarah. He said, "HURRY. Get three cups of our best flour; knead it and make bread." Then Abraham RAN to the cattle pen and picked out a nice plump calf and gave it to the servant WHO LOST NO TIME getting it ready. Then he got curds and milk, brought them with the calf that had been roasted, set the meal before the men, and stood there under the tree while they ate.
Genesis 18: 1-8 (The Message)
When I read this passage, one of the first things I noticed was Abraham's sense of urgency in welcoming these unexpected guests & making sure they were well cared for. Multiple times, it states that Abraham ran & hurried. Not only that, but he did it all during the hottest part of the day & a time when he was resting. It made me think about how much we've lost this sense of hospitality in our society, where we often don't even know our neighbors! We seem to rarely welcome people we know into our homes, much less unexpected guests that we don't know. I'm not by any means suggesting that we welcome just anyone off the street into our homes, as it could, unfortunately, be very dangerous. But I do think we could take a few tips from Abraham.
First, Abraham looked up & saw the men. I don't know about you, but I often get caught up in my own little world, and fail to take the time to look around me & see who I might be able to help or to minister to.
Second, Abraham didn't delay. He saw a need & hurried to help.
Third, he took the time to greet them. How often do we go throughout our day and fail to to even smile or say hi to those we come in contact with?
Fourth, he acted as a servant. He honored them, both by speaking to them with respect & by acting to meet their needs. Although it was the hottest part of the day and he was taking a break, he put their needs above his own.
Finally, he was detailed in taking care of them, supplying water for their feet & food for their tummies. And he gave them the best (the best flour & a nice plump calf).
My prayer is that God helps me to serve as Abraham served........that He will bring people across my path to minister to, and that, whether it be inviting them into my home or just into my life at that moment, I will serve with a joyful heart.