There is a Greek verb used occasionally in the New Testament (Ï€ÏÎ¿Ï€ÎÎ¼Ï€Ï‰ – “propempo”) that helps us understand how we should treat brothers and sisters in Christ who are moving away from our location or travelling through our location. I’ve run across this verb a few times in my studies, most recently when I was reading 3 John:
Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. (3 John 1:5-6 ESV)
The entire phrase “send them on their journey” translates the verb Ï€ÏÎ¿Ï€ÎÎ¼Ï€Ï‰. The lexicon gives the following definitions for this verb: accompany, escort, help on one’s journey, send on one’s way. Here are the other Scripture passages that include this verb (the translations are highlighted):
And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. (Acts 15:2-3 ESV)
And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship. (Acts 20:37-38 ESV)
I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while. (Romans 15:24 ESV)
I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. (1 Corinthians 16:5-6 ESV)
So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers. (1 Corinthians 16:11 ESV)
I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. (2 Corinthians 1:16 ESV)
Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. (Titus 3:13 ESV)
So, while we normally think of hospitality towards those living nearby, opening our homes, providing meals, perhaps there is something more to hospitality. Luke, Paul, and John expected believers to show hospitality to one another in their journeys – even towards strangers.
How do we send believers as they leave our area to move somewhere else? And how do we treat believers who are travelling through our area? How do we show hospitality to those we have never met before, or may never see again?