"Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well" (III John 5-6).
In this text we note that the recipient of this "post card" epistle is commended for his entertaining those who were strangers traveling on in order to minister in various churches. The Bible gives special weight to the importance of showing hospitality to fellow believers. Paul wrote: "The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain" (II Timothy 1:16).
Christ Himself observed that at the judgment, "the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:37-40).
The Jewish community was commanded: "But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Leviticus 19:34). Hebrews states: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (13:2). Perhaps this passage references Abraham's hospitality to the angels in Genesis 18. But one wonders how many times angels have been turned away by inhospitable believers! Indeed Romans 12:13 says believers are to be "given to hospitality" and this attribute is actually a requirement for all pastors and deacons (I Timothy 3 and Titus 1). DW