"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."1
Imagine you were an expert mechanic working on your car and along comes a stranger and tells you what you should do to fix it. What would you think and how would you feel? At the very least I'd question the stranger's reliability.
Maybe that's the way Peter, James and John felt after they had been fishing all night and caught nothing when Jesus told them to take their boats out and try again. They were experienced fisherman so what would Jesus know about fishing that they didn't know? They didn't know who he really was. Nevertheless, they did what he suggested and caught so many fish they had to get help to bring in the nets.
Then there were the religious leaders of Christ's day who had no idea who Jesus was either, but they were jealous of him and had him crucified.
Unfortunately, it is true that we can't trust everybody and we need to be on our guard against deceptive and dishonest people. At the same time we never know who the stranger is that has crossed our path. He/she may be an angel unawares. Or he/she may be a person in need of a helping hand, an encouraging word, or just "a cup of cold water." Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."2
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to sense so that I will know when you have sent a 'stranger' to minister to me in my hour of need, or if you have brought into my life a person in need of a helping hand or a touch from you—please help me to be as Jesus to him or her. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Hebrews 13:2 (NIV).
2. Matthew 25:40 (NIV).