Summary: Why was Jesus so concerned that we have a love for strangers? It was because Jesus came into this world as a stranger, and he knows what it is like to be rejected. He came unto His own and His own received Him not.
Earl M. Finch became one of the most popular bachelors in Hawaii because he had the gift of
hospitality. It all started in Hattiesberg, Mississippi when he saw a Japanese soldier reading the
menu on the window of a drugstore. He felt the impulse to go over to the G I and say, "Are you
hungry son?" "You bet," came the reply. He started talking to the soldier and discovered that
there were a number of Japanese soldiers in nearby Camp Shelly, but they were not welcome
anywhere in town because they were Japanese.
Earl said, "How would you like to bring a couple of your buddies to my place for supper
tomorrow." He said, "Yes," and the next day when Earl got home from work he found flowers.
The soldiers were so grateful for his hospitality even before they experienced it that they said
thanks by means of flowers. Soon Earl had 100 Japanese soldiers over for a barbecue, and he
became so popular that he rented a store downtown and turned it into a club for them. As they
sailed off to war he began to write letters to them. New soldiers came and he wrote letters to them.
In all he wrote 15 thousand letters. Earl kept getting letters back from them, and as they married
and had children he got letters saying they named their son Earl in his honor. We are not talking
about one or two, or even 5 or 6, but 15 hundred babies were named Earl because of this man's
When the war ended a large number of the soldiers went home to Hawaii. They got together
and invited Earl to come and visit them. When he arrived the band began to play, and there was a
big parade to a park where 5000 Japanese gave Earl Finch a barbecue. They governor and mayor
were there, and one by one the mother's brought their babies for Earl to see. Earl was one of the
most popular names in Hawaii because of this man. He never married, but he felt like the biggest
granddaddy on earth. He moved to Hawaii where he enjoyed the hospitality that was a reaping of
the hospitality he had shown.
This true story is an historical illustration of the power of hospitality to determine one's destiny.
Jesus taught this very thing in Matt. 25 where He said, "I was a stranger and you invited me in,
and the righteous ask, when did we see you a stranger and invite you in?" Jesus replies,
"Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." They were
welcomed into the kingdom God had prepared for them because they were hospitable to strangers.
The Greek work for hospitality means love of strangers.
Why was Jesus so concerned that we have a love for strangers? It was because Jesus came into
this world as a stranger, and he knows what it is like to be rejected. He came unto His own and
His own received Him not. There was no room in the inn at His birth, but this was a problem
easily overcome and the stable was a satisfactory substitute. But when you find no room in
people's heart and lives for you, there is no substitute. Jesus was not even welcome in His
hometown of Nazareth. It was one of His greatest sorrows in life to experience a lack of
hospitality in prejudice people. Jesus knew the burden of being alone and being a stranger that is
unwelcome. That is why Jesus loved to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan, for it is the story
of hospitality in action. The love of and care of a stranger in need is what it is all about.
Paul portrays the whole outreach of the Gospel to the Gentile world as a ministry of heaven's
hospitality. Paul says in Eph. 2:12 that the Gentiles were separate from Christ, excluded from the
citizenship of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God
in the world. But he goes on to say that they were by Christ brought near through His blood and
made one so that they are no longer strangers and aliens, but members of the household of God.
They were strangers, but God took them in, and by His loving hospitality made them His own,
and adopted them as His children. Hospitality in the heart of God is the heart of our salvation.
Jesus expects that we will respond in kind and be hospitable. He says in Rev. 3:10, "Behold I
stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat
with him and he with me." Salvation begins with a hospitable heart that invites Christ in. Jesus