God Values Hospitality

October 21st, 2011

RG102111Leviticus 19:26-37

Xenophobia, the fear of strangers, is no modern phenomenon. It is everywhere evident in the story of the Exodus. Their journey took the people of God through hostile territories and among hostile people. They knew what it was like to live as strangers. God gives them a surprising message: remember what it was like to be an undocumented alien; be nice to them whenever you meet them.

Two observations: First, this is not a statement of foreign policy. It doesn’t ask who the stranger is, or why he is there. In those days he probably was an Arab, he might have been an escaped criminal. The text doesn’t address those issues. It simply says, be hospitable.

Second, it is a statement about personal morality and community ethics. The apostle Paul encourages believers, “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13).


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