The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.
Great stories often include scenes of danger and courage. This story about the apostle Paul on Malta follows a gripping account of a two-week storm at sea and a shipwreck (Acts 17). And although this story tells of a deadly snakebite and miraculous healings, it focuses at first (and at the end) on what may seem rather mundane: hospitality. Paul and his companions were shipwrecked, wet, and cold, so the islanders of Malta welcomed them by making a fire.
Simple hospitality can have a profound effect on people caught in the storms of life. Hebrews 13:2 encourages us: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Did the Maltans know who they were welcoming, or what mission they were advancing, when they went out in the rain and cold to meet these strangers?
Paul’s ministry of spreading the good news of Jesus was often supported by the kindness of others. The Maltans showed hospitality before they even heard Paul’s teaching or saw the miracles he did in Jesus’ name.
Can you remember a time when others showed unusual kindness to you? Whom could you show kindness to today? Showing kindness should flow freely from a heart full of joy because of Jesus’ teaching.
Thank you, Lord, for the unusual kindness you have shown to us. Help us to reflect your love and to welcome the people around us, so that others may know the joy of your salvation. Amen.