A few years ago, a man walked for hundreds of miles through England and all the way up to Edinburgh – without a penny in his pocket.
His idea was to see if total strangers – in the countryside and in the towns and cities – would give him free hospitality.
He wanted to find out how generous and willing – or otherwise – ordinary folk would be in looking after a stranger’s needs.
And he was pleasantly surprised as to how many people DID give him shelter and fed him.
hospitality and rewards…..
Sadly, the only kind of reward that many people today look for is one, which is of profit to themselves.
And, I suppose, the other side of the coin is that some people take advantage of other’s kindness.
In fact, the man who went around the country looking for free hospitality was writing a book about how hospitable others are – so I guess, he was taking advantage of their goodwill.
Remember the story of the Arab and the Camel?
It goes something like this – an Arab was travelling across the desert and when night began to fall, he pitched his tent, looking forward to a good night’s sleep.
Soon, after packing in for the night, he was awakened by the camel, which was tethered outside, sticking his nose through the flap of the tent.
The poor beast was cold and the Arab took pity on it – but after the camel had later forced his whole head, then sometime after his shoulders, and eventually his whole body into the tent, there was no room at all for the host.
The guest, as it were, had taken over. The camel spent the night snugly and warm inside, while the Arab was left raging outside of his own tent – left out in the cold.
Hospitality often means that the host becomes a victim of the guest. And that can be rather bewildering.
And Gospel hospitality can be even more difficult to get to grips with.
The love of God for humankind & his hospitality towards us often baffles us.
Our God lets the sun shine on the good as well as the bad.
He lets the darnel remain side by side with the good seed, so that the good seed isn’t damaged in the process of weeding.
There is no limit set to the hospitality of God.
And there should be no limit to our caring, support, and hospitality toward others – not dictated by profit and loss – but how best we can serve God while here in this life.
The love that God reveals to all humankind gives human hospitality its true colour and its proper emphasis and meaning.
A businessman once phoned his wife to ask if it was OK to bring a stranger home that evening for a meal.
This poor woman, at the time of the phone-call, was struggling to get her three young school-aged children fed, washed and ready for bed – and her fourth – a toddler was still wide-awake and being awkward.
There were a host of household things to be done; she was tired, weary, and falling asleep on her feet, but she thought it only right to look after a stranger in a foreign country – so she agreed.
The meal went well, and the visitor, a Spanish dignitary never forgot the kindness shown him.
Years later, some friends of that family went to Spain as missionaries. Their work at one point was brought to a standstill by Government red tape.
When the Spanish official – the same man who had been looked after all these years before – heard that the church-folk were friends of the family who had provided him with hospitality all that time ago – he used his influence to clear away all the restrictions.
Today, there is a church in that province of Spain, all because of that one selfless, God-serving act of hospitality offered lovingly and ungrudgingly all these years before.
Let us never underestimate the power of even a cup of cold water!