“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:13
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9
What do you visualize in your head after reading a verse that encourages hospitality? For me, it is usually the image of an Instagram worthy tablescape. Luckily, the Bible describes hospitality and in the Scriptures, there are no instructions regarding perfection and appearances.
According to John 14:15, God wants us to obey his commands and this includes our response to what his Word teaches about hospitality. Romans 12:13b says we are to practice hospitality—literally, to “pursue the love of strangers” (Hebrews 13:2). Put those two things together and I see that if we want to demonstrate obedience to our heavenly Father, we will practice hospitality. 3 John 7:8 reminds us to extend hospitality to those working in Christian ministry. Specifically, to “support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.”
If we are to cultivate a heart of biblical hospitality, we cannot dwell on our pride, past failed recipes or our fears. I have been trying to organize a plan for 2019 so I listed a few strategies. Hospitality can look like:
Inviting a non-Christian family out to pizza after the soccer game.
Sharing a picnic at the park with the single mom down the street.
Inviting that new couple at church over for Sunday brunch.
Despite the fact that much of our lives are lived in a “public” way online, most people value privacy more than ever and we are busier than ever. Entertaining and hospitality run counter to this. Hospitality is sharing what we consider to be “personal” with each other in a sacrificial way. This isn’t “entertaining”, this should be obedience to God’s command. So how do we get past the fear, ego and privacy? And what about the introverts? The answer is prayer. Prayer is the expression of a reliance on God.
Father, help us to hear again your word, “By this shall they know you are my disciples; that you love one another.” Turn our fear into hospitality. Show us the opportunities, reveal potential dates for our families within the next 30 days. I pray that you will give us joy in humility and the mundane parts of hosting and to nurture our hearts for biblical hospitality. In your Son’s name, Amen.
Roberta Smith, Faith and Family Coordinator