29 Sep Biblical Hospitality doesn’t look like Pinterest
As I write this, my mind is drifting aimlessly to pinterest boards and dreams for my new home. I have an excuse though – I just signed a contract on my first house!
I imagine clean spaces, crisp linens, and cozy blankets. A perfect dream world to welcome guests and with instagram filters to boot.
In this dream world, before the reality of busted pipes, squeaky floors, and yard work come crashing down; I am tempted to think my hospitality will be a result of my excellent thrifting and welcoming décor. This may be a part of it, but will I love the neighbor I wouldn’t choose?
But will I love the neighbor I wouldn’t choose?
I don’t yet know my neighbors, but I think my efforts at hospitality will be best revealed in my interactions with the noisy, rude, or insolent neighbor rather than how my best friends feel after I host a dinner party.
Biblical hospitality is much more than Pinterest. It’s welcoming strangers. It’s caring for your enemy. It’s taking time out of a long journey to help the dirty, wounded beggar on the side of the road. Biblical hospitality means getting dirty – be it yard work for my elderly neighbor or listening to the heartache from brokenness with the family next door. Biblical hospitality requires sacrifice.
Biblical hospitality is much more than Pinterest.
It’s welcoming strangers. It’s caring for your enemy.
I don’t yet know what challenges I’ll face as a new homeowner, but I do know I need to prepare my heart. As a first time homeowner it will be easy to be overwhelmed and default to laziness and indifference towards the people around me, but if I claim Christ then inaction is not an option. Luke recounts a parable of Jesus’ in his gospel.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10: 25-37)
In a world that seems to increasingly hostile, mercy towards strangers and enemies will be a beacon of light in a lonely and dark world.
When I read this, the Samaritan’s tenderness and extravagant care is overwhelming – especially in contrast to the “professional holy men” and the lawyer. His mercy towards a total stranger is difficult to comprehend. The social divide between these men would have been great and the financial expenses costly. The Samaritan sacrificed energy, time, and money to care for a stranger already half-dead. The lawyer wanted to “justify himself” and find the limit to his duty.
In a world that seems to increasingly hostile, mercy towards strangers and enemies will be a beacon of light in a lonely and dark world. Will the world know us by our Pinterest boards, or will we be know for caring for the dirty, the weak, the inconvenient, the enemy and thereby demonstrate true hospitality?