18 Apr The Gift of Hospitality
What comes to mind when you think of hospitality? A fabulous fancy hotel, a wonderful restaurant? Caring for people? Maybe a degree you can get in college?
Let’s talk about the big elephant in the room and what hospitality is not: it is not about showing off. It is not about how big your house is, how perfect your house is, what neighborhood you live in, whether your carpet is perfectly cleaned, or even how good of a cook you are or that your kids are so well-behaved.
Think back to a time when you have been served by others through their hospitality. Maybe you stayed for a weekend, shared a meal on a holiday, were delivered a meal when you were sick, or someone came to bring you a book to read right at the moment you needed to hear what was written in the pages because you were in pain. How did you feel? I know for me, I have experienced all of those things at different times and the most heartfelt moments were when someone loved and cared for me without any expectation of being acknowledged. They showed up, made a call to me, or made me an unexpected meal. It was genuine. It gave me a sense of belonging to the body of Christ.
Jesus cares about relationships. That is why being a Christian is not about religion but about a relationship. He is interested in our caring for others and serving others. Part of our purpose is to serve, both in and out of the body of Christ. We can honor and obey God by serving those around us—the believers and the non-believers.
“Jesus cares about relationships. That is why being a Christian is not about religion but about a relationship.”
1 Peter 4:9 challenges us to, “Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay,” and Luke 14:13 (CEV) says, “When you give a feast, invite the poor, the paralyzed, the lame, and the blind.” In Romans 12:13, Paul appeals to us to share with those in need and be hospitable.
In Matthew 25 we learn about the parable of the three servants who were given a talent of money. As the story unfolds, we see two who were faithful and put that money to work. The third one did not. The two who were faithful heard the words we all long to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
They are no different from us. When we use the things God gives us, we also honor Him. You may be thinking, “But hospitality is not one of my gifts”. Many people mistake loving to cook or lots of activity and preparation for true hospitality. Believing that lie of the “comparison game” will destroy us every time.
“Believing that lie of the ‘comparison game’ will destroy us every time.”
Jesus just wants us to obey Him and do it from a heart of thankfulness for the hospitality He showed us when He sent the ultimate gift of His son.
We love because He first loved us.
We welcome because He welcomed us.
We invite because He invited us.
It is really that simple. How can you serve others today? Look around you. Listen at work to the angry co-worker, observe the woman who sits alone at church every Sunday, look at the face of the waiter or waitress when you go to lunch with your friends, or invite a complete stranger to Christmas dinner or the neighbor who just lost his wife. When the Lord brings someone to mind for what may seem like no reason at all, pick up the phone and call them to see how they are doing. You will be glad you did.
Love. Welcome. Invite.