If you do a Google search for a definition of hospitality you will find that it means “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers”. I often think of hospitality as having people over to one’s home for a meal; there really is something about sharing a meal with someone. I remember a family that attended our church years ago. He was one of our elders. They had a number of children and not a lot of money. Yet they always opened their home to others for meals. It was definitely not considered entertaining – you had to clear off a spot to sit down on their couch, and then they’d fire up the rice cooker. You felt warm and welcome ~ they had the gift of hospitality. This is certainly an area that I can grow in. Oh, I have my excuses – “our home is too small to host”, or “I’m an introvert”, or even “I don’t like potlucks”.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the subject of hospitality recently. Below are a few helpful resources that I’ve benefited from:
- Openness Unhindered by Rosaria Butterfield. I’ve learned a lot about biblical hospitality from Rosaria Butterfield’s two books and hearing her speak. In her book Openness Unhindered she had a helpful discussion on hospitality and neighboring. I particularly took interest in her discussion about the art of neighboring, where she and her husband placed picnic tables and chairs in their front yard to encourage hospitality. Thursday nights at their home is a prayer open house and a neighborhood prayer walk. Another helpful resource from Rosaria is this interview with Tony Reinke in which they explore the role hospitality played in her conversion, and why she’s now challenging Christians to rethink the missional potential of our living rooms and dining rooms. She says fellowship is having your church friends in, but hospitality is meeting the stranger at the gate and inviting the stranger in. We have to be intentional about inviting our neighbors into our lives to become friends.
- Tim Keller’s Message on Hospitality. In this excellent message from Tim Keller, he states that hospitality is what we do with our bodies and gifts. Keller goes on to say that hospitality is an attitude of the heart and practice.
- Tim Challies’ Series on the Character of the Christian. In this article, Tim Challies writes that “Hospitality is a tangible, outward display of godly character.” He offers some helpful questions to evaluate ourselves on hospitality.
What does the Bible say about hospitality? It’s not a suggestion, it’s a command! Here are five wonderful verses:
Romans 12:13: Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
1 Peter 4:9: Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Hebrews 13:2: do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Isaiah 58:7: Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Luke 14:13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind…
And two verses for Pastors/Elders:
1 Timothy 3:2: Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach
Titus 1:8: hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined
What do you think hospitality is and how can it be demonstrated in your life?
- Don’t be content with just having your friends over!
- Don’t be afraid to expose your kids to difficult people, discussions and experiences.
- Be creative! Use your car for hospitality – to give rides, loan it out, etc.
- Send us more ideas by hitting the comment button.
Let’s encourage each other to open our hearts and our homes by practicing servanthood and making others feel special and welcome. May our homes become sanctuaries for others by us stewarding the blessings God has given us.