Neglecting the Signs

Hebrews 13:2, Hebrews 12:12-13, Hebrews 13:16

How many times have we all found ourselves driving along a road or highway daydreaming and in an instant we lose sight of where we are or where we are going? We’ve all missed a sign or turn and took an unplanned route as a result of our inattention. Our own personal distractions, foggy spiritual focus as well as the storms of life can take us off our life path or cause us to miss out on blessings waiting along the way.

It was just such a day about 30 years ago, when my own languid response to an opportunity resulted in a missed blessing and years of regret. I was at a choir rehearsal that evening and the director realized that we needed more copies of the music we were learning. Our pianist, the pastor’s wife, and I, volunteered to go down to the church office to get the needed copies.

The sun was setting and a light rain had begun to fall as we entered the office that evening. Finished with our business and the light turned off, we stepped out into the garden path. Then,startling our exit, several strangers approached us. All of them were dressed in biblical-looking attire. One came closer and introduced himself as a fellow believer and “traveler.” He asked if the church might have a room where they could rest for the night and be sheltered from the rain. I started to respond positively but was quickly cut short by my companion. “We don’t have the authority for that,” she responded. Of course being the pastor’s wife she did indeed have the authority, but was obviously timid to allow strangers into church property.

It doesn’t take authority,” the young man said “It just takes heart!” The strangers walked away briskly and we stared at each other with pricked consciousness.

“Maybe we could let them sleep in the early childhood room where there’s a bathroom,” she revised.

Sure,” I said and immediately we set out to find them and give our hospitable good news. They couldn’t have been out of our sight for more than a few seconds, yet as we rounded the other side of the building in their direction, they were nowhere to be seen. They had simply vanished. There were no other structures nearby possibly hiding the conspicuously dressed group and no crowds of people to blend in with, yet we could not see them anywhere.

Looking at each other in wonder and dismay, words failed and expressions revealed our obvious regret and curiosity of the blessing we both missed that night. We had forgotten to entertain strangers and likely missed out on “entertaining angels.” Perhaps there is no correlation to this event, but it was only a few years later that the church closed its doors.

Can you imagine the regret the innkeepers had for turning away Mary and Joseph that serendipitous night? After learning later of the special birth they missed, it must have pierced their hearts with remorse. Some no doubt never put it together, or made excuses for their harshness and unsympathetic refusal of a room. We can only surmise that many may have realized their mistake and lived with long regrets for the blessing missed. Who knows, but perhaps some of the Inns may have even gone out of business consequently. Hebrews 13:2 shines a light on the importance of attentiveness and brotherly love along life’s highway. “Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”


Star of wonder

Star of night

Lead us with thy splendor.

Guide us through the dead of night

And make our way much clearer.

Wish I may and wish I might

Find my way to thee.

Holy one of His delight

David’s prophesy.

Star of wonder,

Star of night,

Little lambs are bleating.

They can hear a shepherd’s voice

Tiny though it be-e.

Angels they have heard on high

And they wonder too,

Will you be a lucky star,

And make our wish come true?

By Iris Carignan 2009