“Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”
*— Genesis 18:6*
Part of me has to laugh when I read Abraham’s urgent instructions: “Quick . . . bake some bread.” Baking bread from scratch is not something you can do quickly! It requires careful work and time.
But hospitality required that Abraham and Sarah’s visitors should have bread and choice meat and curds and milk prepared. So, whatever time it took to prepare all that, it was worth the work and the wait to provide a hospitable, generous environment for their guests.
Hospitality was central to the culture of that time, and it demonstrated God’s purpose for relationships. When people break bread together, something important happens. People who eat together develop a deeper understanding of each other.
Sadly, in our North American culture today, we’re often in such a hurry that we don’t take the time to really extend hospitality to each other. Yet the Bible often depicts the kingdom of God as a hospitable, even extravagant feast.
In our lives today, could we learn from our neighbors in other cultures about what it means to be hospitable? Could we make room for each other in a patient, generous way—even using the finest ingredients—so that our gatherings echo a biblical vision of hospitality?
*Jesus, you promise to gather us at a great banquet. May that extravagant vision of breaking bread with you inspire us to spread a generous table for others who might even be your messengers (Hebrews 13:2). Amen.*