Planning to Entertain Angels

By Linda Porter Carlyle

Joseph Anderson Donetti read his memory verse. He blinked and read it again. “Did you ever read this verse?” he asked G.M., his grandma Maddie.

“What verse?” G.M. asked absently. She carefully rinsed yellow paint out of her paintbrush and studied the painting she was working on.

This verse,” Joseph said. He looked at the Primary Treasure in his lap. “‘Do not forget to entertain strangers, for . . . some people have entertained angels without knowing it,’” he read aloud.

“How do you entertain strangers?” he asked.

G.M. looked at Joseph over the top of her glasses. “One way is to invite them home and feed them,” she said.

Joseph untangled his legs and sat up straight in the big overstuffed chair. “That’s what I thought,” he said. “Do you think people really have done that? Do you think people really have invited angels to their home and didn’t know they were angels?” he asked.

“Of course, I believe it,” G.M. answered. “That’s what the Bible says.”

“Wow!” Joseph exclaimed. He thought for a moment, and then he asked, “How come we never invite strangers home and feed them? When we have company, it’s always somebody we already know. And we hardly ever have company,” he added.

G.M. sighed. “I know,” she admitted. “It seems like I’m so busy every day that I don’t have time to plan for company and time to fix fancy meals. And your mother is awfully busy too.”

“Could we have company after church this Sabbath?” Joseph asked. “Could we invite some strangers to come home for lunch?”

G.M. sighed. “I have so much work to do this week,” she said. “I want to have as many paintings as I can ready to sell at the art festival.”

“But what if there are strangers at church?” Joseph asked. “And what if they are really angels?”

G.M.’s eyes twinkled. “We certainly wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity like that!” she said. “But I just don’t have time to plan and cook. Do you want to do the planning and the cooking?”

“I don’t know how to cook very many things,” Joseph said.

“Well, if you want to entertain strangers this week, you’ll have to figure something out,” G.M. answered, mixing together two shades of green paint on her palette.

Joseph thought a moment. Then he jumped up and headed for the kitchen. He found the cordless phone in the fruit bowl, snuggled next to the bananas. He picked it up and punched in Mac’s number.

“G.M. says we can entertain strangers this Sabbath if I figure out what to cook,” he said when Mac answered. “And I have to do the cooking too,” he added. “I don’t know how to cook that much stuff. What do you know how to cook?”

“I know how to make sandwiches,” Mac answered. “What are you talking about, ‘entertaining strangers’?”

“You know, our memory verse,” Joseph explained. “It says we’re supposed to entertain strangers. What if there are strangers at church this Sabbath, but they’re not just regular people, they’re really angels? And what if nobody invites them home?”

“Don’t you think you would know if they were angels?” Mac wondered.

“I guess not,” Joseph answered thoughtfully. “The memory verse says that some people have entertained angels without knowing it. But if you never entertain any strangers at all, then you never have any chance of entertaining angels,” he added. “So I want to entertain strangers.”

“You could make sandwiches,” Mac suggested. “You could make big, fat sandwiches with lots of stuff in them like a subway sandwich. You know—lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, onions, peppers, pickles, and maybe some cheese. Some people like those.”

“That would be easy!” Joseph exclaimed. “I could just put all the different things on plates and everybody could make their own sandwich with just the stuff they like!”

“And you could have potato chips too,” Mac added. “And maybe carrot sticks and celery sticks.”

“That’s a great idea!” Joseph said. “And maybe G.M. will buy ice cream for dessert. You don’t have to cook that.”

“Could I have lunch with you too?” Mac asked. “I’ll help you get everything ready. I know how to set the table properly. And I will even think of something special to decorate it. I don’t want to miss it if you entertain any angels!”

Do you know how to cook something simple and set the table nicely? Maybe your family could invite company after church more often if you would help. Look for visitors or other people who might be alone to invite. Or, help with the church’s hospitality dinner and get to know someone new there. You just might meet an angel!

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