With Generous Hands
“Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!”
In “Streams In The Desert”, Vol. 2, Mrs. C. E. Cowman recalled an old legend about three fair maidens who lived in a royal palace. It went like this: While they were in the garden one morning with its streams and roses, there arose the question as to which of them had the most beautiful hands. Eleanor, who had tinted her white fingers while gathering strawberries, thought hers the most beautiful. Antoinette had been among the fragrant roses and her hands had their dewy sweetness. To her they were the loveliest. Joan had dipped her dainty fingers in the lucid stream and as the clear water sparkled on her fingers she thought her hands the most beautiful. Just then there came a poor girl who asked for alms, but the royal maidens drew aside their rich robes and turned away. The girl passed to a cottage nearby and a woman with a sun-burned face and toil-stained hands gave her bread. The poor girl, so the legend goes, was immediately transformed into an angel and appeared at the garden gate saying, “The most beautiful hands are those which are found ready to bless and help their fellowmen.”
In the Old Testament Abraham displayed the same type of hospitality as the woman with the “sun-burned face and toil-stained hands”. He welcomed three strangers who were standing nearby where he was camping in an oak grove. He ran out to meet them and invited them to rest in the shade of a tree while he had his servants retrieve water so the men could wash their feet. He then asked Sarah, his wife, to prepare food for them. He treated them as honored guests. It is often suggested he entertained angels.
In the United States during World War II times were difficult. Jobs were hard to find, especially in small towns, and food was rationed. There were many family men out of work. They traveled from town to town to try to find work.
My paternal grandmother exemplified the meaning of being hospitable to strangers during those difficult and lean times. When one of those men would knock on the door of her home and ask for food, she would always provide food for them, even if all she had to offer was a meager sandwich. Could she possibly have entertained an angel(s)?
Frances R. Havergal stated: “Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.” May we keep this thought in mind the next time we have the opportunity to bless and help our fellowmen.
Lord, guide us to opportunities to be hospitable to show Your love. Amen.
~ Ann Brock