"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it" (Hebrews 13:2).
People tell stories related to this verse about doing something for someone in need & thinking that person may have been an angel. They suspect this usually because the person "disappears" within a short time. Disappears as in they cannot find them though they were just very close. I'm not going to say this sort of thing doesn't happen but I do have some thoughts on this.
This word doesn't have to be translated as "angels." It could be translated as "messengers." This could mean that the stranger they have been hospitable to may have a word from the Lord for them or be a traveling evangelist.
I had this sort of thing happen to me once before. I did something for someone & soon after she seemed to "disappear." My wife was with me & we were wondering if it was something like the verse above describes. These were my thoughts at the time, "I don't want to help angels. Angels don't need food. Angels are fine. I want to give to real people with real needs, not waste it on well fed angels." Angels receiving money, food, rides, etc in place of real people who need those things seems like a jerk move. These don't seem like good angels to me. I've also gotten the impression that people take doing something for angels as more of an honor than helping a human being.
What do you think about this whole thing? Your thoughts & stories are appreciated.