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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Biblical Hospitality

“Hospitality is becoming an almost forgotten Christian virtue in our style of life today… In the New Testament, however, hospitality was a distinctive mark of Christians and Christian communities.” ~Alexander Strauch

For most folks, life is busy. Just plain busy. Sometimes it seems we don't have time to stop and even catch our breath. But what about entertaining? Entertaining? Seriously? Most folks barely even get dinner on the table on time! But did you know... hospitality is a biblical command.

"Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:1,2

"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." 1 Peter 4:9

"Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth." 3 John 5-8
"Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:13

Time and time again we see in Scripture that we are told to practice hospitality. In fact, it is a requirement for Elders and Deacons (1 Timothy 3:2) But what does hospitality look like? For years I reasoned that I was indeed a hospitable person. After all, I made sure I signed up to take a meals to families when a need arose. I was kind and made small talk with new folks at church and reached out when someone needed a hand. But, just what does hospitality truly mean?


the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers
the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.

Did you get a couple of those key words.... RECEPTION and RECEIVING. This implies having someone actually in your home. Inviting someone in to your world, into your family. Oftentimes hospitality revolves around some sort of meal; although it might just mean inviting someone in for a glass of lemonade and cookies or simply a cold glass of water or hot cup of tea.

Yes... we are commanded to have people in our homes, for the purpose of entertaining them with our fellowship. Don't get me wrong - taking meals to someone in need is an incredible act of service (which is also commanded) but this isn't the same thing as hospitality. Ministering to folks in other places - at the park, at the coffee shop, at church - these are also important as well, but it's just not the same as having someone in our home.

When we invite someone into our home, there is a vulnerability that can't help but happen. I think this is why sometimes it is so hard. It's easy to make excuses....

Excuse: We just can't afford to make a big fancy meal
Reality: The Bible doesn't command a big fancy meal. Cornbread and beans would do just fine!

Excuse: But my house is a wreck
Reality: Most folks don't care what your house looks like; but if it bothers you then work towards keeping a tidy house so this doesn't become your excuse

Excuse: I'm not a social person
Reality: Get over it - God commanded it - you need to do it! It's time to step out of your comfort zone and let God work through you and in you for His glory and not your own!

Excuse: Oh, I plan to have someone over, but I need to get this, this and this done first. And just as soon as I do, my doors are open!
Reality: Procrastination only leads to procrastination. Stop talking about it and do it or the moment will pass you by.

Excuse: But it will cut into our family time
Reality: What better way to spend your family time than by ministering to others. Besides, your time belongs to God - use it for Him.

If hospitality isn't "your thing" or you just haven't made it a priority, I would encourage you to spend some time over the next several days praying about this. Ask him to give you opportunities to show Biblical Hospitality to someone (or many someones).... and then be ready. You never know just whom He might have you entertain. (Hebrews 13:2)

Quiet Reflections

What excuses have you used lately to justify not "entertaining" in you home?

What are some steps you can take to prepare your home to have others over?

What are some steps you need to take to prepare your heart for an attitude of service?

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Blogger Denise said...

Awe inspiring post.

June 6, 2009 at 1:06 AM  
Blogger Kela said...

My husband and I made the commitment to entertain when we moved into our new home 2 years ago. We have pretty much kept to that. Even when a big pot of potato soup is what we have every time guest comes over, we joyfully serve and entertain.
This is one way that we honor God with what He's blessed us with.

Wonderful post!!

June 6, 2009 at 1:58 AM  
Blogger you gotta wonder said...

I completely agree. Fortunately our house lends itself to having company. I'm looking forward to hosting our church youth group for a few gatherings. I'm also planning another annual gathering for co-workers. It brings me joy to have folks share in the blessings of all God has given us.

ps - I haven't always felt this way. It's something I've come to embrace.

June 6, 2009 at 9:07 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Well...this post convicted me of not being as hospitable as I should...thanks for the reminders...

June 6, 2009 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Proverbs 27:19 said...

We actually enjoy inviting people over. I just get discouraged when our invitation is declined due to the other party being busy; mostly referred to as, "We have other plans."


June 6, 2009 at 5:21 PM  
Blogger Collette said...

This is a challenging article. I go through phases of being hospitable and will pray about this and reflect on my blog. Inviting friends to our home is easy but the Lord wants us to welcome everyone into our home, even those we do not know. That is challenging! Great article!
Love Collette x

June 6, 2009 at 5:28 PM  
Blogger BizzieLizzie said...

I too am challenged by this! I do not entertain - at all! I love my home, but just do not open it up to others and have always been this way! I've invited a family over for a spaghetti dinner - I'm just awaiting for them to let me know when it's good for them! That's a HUGE start - hopefully, it will continue to grow! Blessings, Charlotte

June 7, 2009 at 8:21 AM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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