Everyone has the potential to serve as angels in this world


Over the past eight years, I have had the privilege of traveling to various parts of the nation of India several times.

Each of my journeys to India has taken me to different portions of the country. This has allowed me to experience a wide range of the cultures, foods and scenery the country has to offer. It is an incredibly diverse country with an amazing cornucopia of traditions, languages and social norms, depending on which part of the country you happen to be visiting.

In many ways, India is a nation of nations. No two trips have been the same, but they all have provided at least one common experience. Everywhere we go, the churches and communities we visit offer us what they call “felicitations.”

Being honored in this way is an incredibly humbling experience. I can still remember the first time I experienced the practice back in 2011. The moderator of the event suddenly called my name, formally inviting me to come to the stage and to take a seat next to other “dignitaries” they were honoring. As I reached my appointed seat, they draped a beautiful shawl over my shoulders and hung an elaborate garland of live flowers around my neck.

As previously noted, it is an incredibly humbling experience. I am nothing special. At my core, I will always be another kid from the trailer parks of northern Indiana.

To be honored by men and women who have dedicated their lives to sharing the hope of the Gospel and have sacrificially given of themselves to better the lives of some of the most marginalized places and people of our world is overwhelming. I have never felt worthy of the recognition. In truth, however, their acts of grace say more about them than they do about me. The honor really isn’t about me, but about the God I am representing and the message I am carrying.

In Hebrews 13:1-2, the author writes, “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Normally, the term “angel” conjures images of supernatural, winged beings, radiating light, telling their listeners to keep calm because they have some news to share. While I can respect the dramatic flair of such renderings, I think it overshadows the point. An angel, by definition, means messenger.

The most important feature of an angel isn’t who or what they are, but what they are doing. Throughout the Bible, angels are bringing messages from God to humanity. If I’m understanding the writer of Hebrews correctly, angels tend to “fly” under the radar more often than not. Two thoughts occur to me as I consider this reality.

We should regularly make an effort to show grace, compassion and honor to those who cross our paths. At the very least, they are our brothers and sisters. They are fellow humans making their way through life, dealing with struggles just like you and me.

Who couldn’t use a little more encouragement in our lives? We also must consider that they just might be angels sent from God to bring us a message of encouragement. It struck me when I was being “felicitated” on my most recent trip to India, that the honor being shown was in gratitude for the message that was being shared. In some small way, I was allowed to be a messenger of grace in that moment.

We all have the potential to serve as angels in this world. I in no way mean to marginalize the existence of actual angels of light, but Jesus challenged his listeners to be “the light of the world.”

I have encountered people in my life who without a doubt served as angels of light in my life. They were regular women and men who brought me words of hope and help in times of need. They were angels to me. We need to realize that we have the option and the opportunity to be messengers of hope in a world that desperately needs it.

We should be quick to show gratitude and grace to those who share their lives with us. We should be more willing to show honor and hospitality to those who seek to encourage us. We should constantly strive to be messengers of light in the world.

Though none of us are perfect beings of light, we just might be serving as God’s messengers, which in some ways, makes us angels.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at jeremysmyers.com. Send comments to [email protected].

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