Hospitality is one of the key ways for Christians to not only encourage Jesus followers, but to share with others the Good News of Jesus.
And biblical hospitality is often quite different than our modern forms of hospitality.
Modern hospitality is often centered on what the host can do for the guest:
But true, biblical hospitality shows that any receiving of a guest must be a two way street.
We see this several times in the Bible, and a great example occurs in Luke 19:
Paul tells the Roman church (12:13) to ‘practice hospitality.’ We falter when we think of hospitality as a static spiritual gift: either you have it or you don’t. What we quickly realize is that whether it is our gift or not, we are called to do it. We practice much like athletes. We realize that our game (welcoming, loving hospitality) is not as good as it could be, so we keep doing it in order to get better. We focus intentionally on all aspects of our game: welcoming, feeding, socializing, storytelling, laughing, sharing, drinking, fellowshipping, blessing, and encouraging.
So for the Christian, we must think of hospitality in terms of an ever expanding table. As more people start to listen in or walk by, we invite them into our space. We add new leaves to the table and pull up some more chairs. We see the guest not only as someone to be honored and blessed, but someone that can bring a new voice and perspective to the conversation. We don’t have to agree all the time (in fact we probably won’t) but we don’t assume superiority either. We let each person stand with their own credentials, perspectives, and God image. We encourage a diversity in views and see it as a way to experience a Kingdom much larger than any of us can picture or imagine on our own. Hospitality is, at its core, a way to both bless and be blessed by the love of God.
Hospitality must be a two way street in which we both give and receive. We see it in the incarnation, experience in the resurrection, and practice it in the community of those around us.
The preceding is an adaptation of a sermon given at Garden Park church on June 29, 2013.
Thoughts? Questions? Comments? What do you have to add to the conversation about hospitality? Please Enter the Discussion below.