“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” Hebrews 13:2 NIV
In the Presidential race of 1860, it came down to two men, Abraham Lincoln and William H. Seward. The race was tightly contested, but as we all know, Lincoln won. What you may not know is the man who was behind Seward was Thurlow Weed. Weed dedicated his life to Seward, getting him elected as President was his life’s mission. At a pivotal point in the election, Lincoln was behind Seward by 1 1/2 votes, when it was announced that Ohio had changed it’s four votes from Chase, another candidate, to Lincoln. This shift in votes is what gave Lincoln the victory. The loss was devastating for the Sewardites, they looked to Thurlow Weed for consolation, He had none. He later acknowledged, Seward’s defeat was “the great disappointment of his life.” (Excerpt taken from ““Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin) Weed’s statement got me to thinking about disappointments in life, and I realized, one of my disappointments in life was missing opportunities to be hospitable to strangers, who may very well have been angels in disguise.
Disappointment is something that doesn’t get discussed. In the quest I’m on to better define my emotions, I’m learning disappointment is one of them. Disappointment is part of life, it’s part of every day, yet we don’t identify it correctly. When we go to lunch at our favorite restaurant and they are out of our favorite meal, we get angry. But we’re not really angry, we’re disappointed. When our spouse doesn’t respond to a situation the way we think he should, we mask our disappointment behind anger or another type of emotion. Disappointment is an emotion, as Weed expressed it in the midst of his grief for the loss of the election. He was disappointed that his hard work did not result in the victory he had wanted for Seward. I’m sure there were a mixture of other emotions he felt, but he was wise enough to understand, the leading emotion was disappointment. When things don’t go the way we want them to in life, when we have done everything we can to achieve a result and we don’t, among other things, we are disappointed. And that is part of life.
Showing hospitality to strangers has always been difficult for me, but when I read the verse above, it turns into missed opportunities. What angels have I missed because I have been focused on my life to notice them? What strangers have I not been hospitable too, that I should have been? As I ponder the verse above, my overwhelming emotion is disappointment for the divine appointments God arranged for me in the form of a stranger. When I asked myself, what is a great disappointment of my life, my answer is different than Seward’s. His disappointment was losing an election, mine is missing out on the opportunity to serve an angel. Let’s not miss our chance today, buy a stranger coffee or a meal. You never know, you may be entertaining an angel.