Christian Hospitality - Sandy Willoughby
As Christians, we are called to a life of hospitality in and out of our homes.
To creatively, courageously, and carefully grow this important fruit of the Spirit it is important to understand what Christian Hospitality is, why it is important, and what we can do to strengthen this area of our service to the LORD.
We are adopted as children of God and heirs with Christ to the throne when we repent of our sins and ask Jesus into our hearts. This is done by believing that Jesus sent from heaven as an infant was born of a virgin, lived and walked the earth, and eventually fulfilled the prophetic words by being crucified on a cross for our sins... being raised again the third day and ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us. This salvation is not something we earn but is a gift we don't deserve: *Grace* from a Loving Creator.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Ephesians 2:8
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2:21
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9
The Christian life is characterized in part by what I found online some time ago from www.dictionary.com :
Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus's teachings.
Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. Acts 26:28
The Bible is so rich and wonderfully filled with Jesus that we can read a life time and not run out of ways to walk like Him. The answer to how one becomes Christ like is to follow in His footsteps. His walk was abundant in hospitality and if we desire to seek examples in this heavenly art... we only have to open His Word and read. It would be a book and probably never ending one were we to attempt at recording every instance of the hospitality Christ lived out His time on earth. Even so, we can take one here and another there and learn from it as we go along.
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Psalm 8:1
It isn't my desire to "read" the Bible for you and rob you the experience of drawing this Living Water yourself so I'll include some Scriptures via references for you to look up:
Examples I believe show the hospitality of heart from Christ:
- +The First Miracle+ John 2:1-11
- +Samaritan Woman at Jacob's Well+ John 4:5-42
- +Healing Peter's Mother-in-Law+ Matthew 8:14
- +Raising the Ruler's Daughter+ Mark 5:22, 35
- +Feeding the Five Thousand+ Luke 9:10
- +Feeding the Four Thousand+ Matthew 15:32
If you ever find yourself trying to read the Bible but not knowing what to read on a particular day... consider looking up these and other example of how Christ worked as He walked!
We are on our way to deciding together what hospitality is and how important it is to have a foundation in Christ so let us briefly investigate what the word means:
Hospitality is defined as a "cordial and generous reception of or disposition toward guests." Another part of this definition includes: "An instance of cordial and generous treatment of guests."
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Titus 1:8
May we share in a melody of words that all offer us light on the meaning of hospitality?
We are showing hospitality when:
- we accommodate: we can do this by providing a comfortable place for someone/others.
- we are affable: this means, "gentle and gracious".
- are amiable: this can be accomplished by simply being friendly and agreeable!
- are cheerful: I love how the dictionary describes this one! "Promoting a feeling of cheer; pleasant: a cozy, cheerful room." Isn't that lovely?!
- when we serve as companions: this is just being there, sisters! Just holding a hand, listening quietly, or sharing in conversation with another or others.
- when we are considerate: caring about those God sends our way. Showing concern for their feelings.
- Cordial: being warm and sincere can go a long way...
- when we entertain: feed, have/invite guests and/or visitors over for company, nourish, treat, and welcome
- are friendly: warm and comforting. Isn't it nice to see how many of these things are the same or quite similar?
- show generosity: serving with in goodness, from the heart, in kindness, liberally, magnificently, with nobleness, in readiness, in in spirit, and unselfishly
- in good fellowship: another one on just being there... joining with someone else or others and sharing time.
- But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. I John 1:7
- give from the heart: we can know we are giving from the heart if we have peace! When we give from anything else... we might find pride, smugness, or "grudgeness" (new word:) but not a soft and simmering peace that warms the soul.
- Use hospitality one to another without grudging. I Peter 4:9
- welcome in warm reception: accept who God sends with a glad heart,
- are sociable: "pleasant, friendly, and affable".
- welcome in warmth: embracing each dear heart with a warm greeting and taking them in happily.
- kindness: dealing with those who come our way affectionately, with an amiable way, expressing courtesy, displaying decency, forbearing where necessary, with all good intentions, in all grace, heart, helpfulness, and patience. Serving in sweetness and with a genuine sympathy, tenderness, and thoughtfulness.
The above ideas were taken from a list of synonyms under "hospitality" in the following source: [Source: Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.1.1) Copyright © 2005 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.]
As Christians, we learn from the Word to let His Light shine through us and we have shining examples from Christ. Sometimes it is easy and natural for us to do all the glorious things listed above and we enjoy welcoming others in, serving them however we can, and opening our hearts and homes in an out pour of Christ Jesus. Other times, we might resent it or grow weary of the whole process and feel emptied, exhausted, and worn out.
We find balance by learning to lean on Jesus and being one with Him so we can understand the direction HE is providing. Only Christ knows our personal boundaries and where we need to expand, stretch, grow, or reign in, and tighten up.
The important thing is to understand that we are called to hospitality, it is important, and we must answer it when it comes whether we are comfortable inside our homes or away from home. If our home isn't ready, our heart should be.
Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Romans 12:13
Christian hospitality isn't just a Christian serving others from their homes... it is serving Christ Jesus from their hearts. We are called to more excellent ways by a most excellent example... in Christ Jesus.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; I Timothy 3:2
Our Christian hospitality is easy when we live it in the Light of Christ. When God sends anyone to our door from a mail man to a beloved relative... they come for one thing and that is JESUS. You and I can serve the Lord with all our hearts and all our minds and all our souls by giving away Jesus with every breath, every hand shake and heartfelt hug, every warm dish offered, steaming mug served, comfort given, and love shown. This is our call... our every worthy and excellent call... may we answer it with delight!
But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. Psalm 16:3