What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word hospitality? Does it make you cringe? What do they want from me NOW? Maybe you think of a person that is really good at hosting extravagant parties or banquets, and you come up feeling inadequate and lazy. Others may think of an intimate tea party with a few close friends. Perhaps you feel you come up lacking when it comes to this virtue? Let’s delve into the topic together, shall we?
1) What is biblical hospitality?
In the New Testament, the Greek word translated hospitality means to love strangers. Throughout the Bible, hospitality is something that is commanded and promoted by God. As Christians, we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works. (Ephesians 2:10). So is hospitality a virtue that just some Christians should possess? No. This is something that we all must strive for… there are no exceptions.
2) What prevents us from being hospitable?
The Trials of Life
Sometimes we just are completely overwhelmed by our current state of circumstances. The thought of reaching out to others may just feel draining.
The Fear of Rejection
At times we may fear being rejected. What will that stranger think when I offer to help them out in the grocery store? What will that new lady at church think when I reach out and open myself up?
The Thought of The Cost
Hospitality usually has a cost. A cost of time, money, or even or own desires.
The Lie of Pinterest Perfection
There is a lie that our homes and our lives need to be perfect to reach out to others. Maybe you and I think someone else is more capable? The best person for hospitality is the one that the Holy Spirit nudges and then follows in obedience.
3) What is needed to be hospitable?
A Humble Heart
Humility is key. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Without a humble heart we cannot be truly hospitable. Humility allows us to take a rest from the public gaze and all its praise.
“Humility is measured by your willingness to allow others to see who you really are in your own weaknesses and in brokenness. Not what we would like for others to see.” – Bill Bright
A Gracious Spirit
Grace alongside humility is a beautiful display of a hospitable woman. Dealing kindly with others, even when they may not deserve it is a great way to be hospitable.
A Hunger For God’s Word
Without a steady intake of God’s Word, we won’t have His instruction or perspective in our day to day interactions. We may forget the big picture of why we are here, the gospel, and that this life is in fact, not about us.
A Selfless Nature
Selfishness will put a wrench in hospitality every time. When we choose to put our own desires before being obedient and reaching out to others, we will be left empty.
A Teachable Mind
Part of the problem with many Christians today is they think they know everything when it comes to the Bible. 1 Timothy 4:12 says that the Bible is living and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword. It’s new and fresh daily to each and every one of us. Our Spiritual growth will become hindered if we don’t have a teachable mind and heart.
4) What do we need to throw out in order to be hospitable?
If you have selfish or hidden motives about reaching out to others, STOP. Selfishness and hospitality don’t go hand in hand.
I believe issues with pride are at the center of ever sin. A prideful attitude will hinder hospitality and it won’t be true and pure.
Don’t seek personal gain. The whole point in reaching out to others, is about OTHERS, not ourselves.
Jesus said, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. – Luke 6:35
Rational thinking can get you out of anything if you want it to. Stop thinking rationally and start thinking Spiritually.
Throw out the notion that your house, your hair, your figure, … anything in your life needs to be perfect. People don’t want perfection, they want real and transparency.
5) What is the goal of being hospitable?
The goal of having a hospitable heart is to glorify God and reflect the love of Jesus to others. We need to be careful that we are doing it as unto the Lord, otherwise it will become a burden instead of a joy. 1 Peter 4:9 says to show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
6) How can being hospitable change everything?
It Can Avoid Depression – Think about the times when you just want to be alone. You don’t want anyone to help you and you don’t want to help others. This attitude can creep in and cause depression. Being others-minded can prevent the slippery slope of a state of depression.
It Gets You Out Of Your Comfort Zone – Getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing. You never know where God will take you in life when you simply obey and trust Him and His perfect ways.
It Could Provide Lifelong Friendships – Do you know what we all need? Friendship. Having a hospitable heart can user in some life-long-kindred-spirit relationships. Have you ever been friendly just because it was the right thing to do, but never imagined you’d have anything in common with the person, and then it turns out that you have everything in common and it blossoms into an amazing friendship? Yeah, that.
It Will Mean Blessings Will Overflow – God will bless you above and beyond what you could think or imagine when you show others hospitality. You are doing the very think God commanded… Love the Lord your God first, and love your neighbor as yourself. Think about how much you love and cherish pampering your own body. When you get hurt, you seek to heal it. When you get tired, you desire rest and relaxation. When you get discouraged, you desire hope and encouragement. Do the same for others. It will cost you something, but it will be so worth the cost.
6) What are some practical ways you and I can be hospitable today?
- Have that new family over for dinner, even if your house is still dusty and your kids are misbehaving.
- Drive that elderly neighbor to her doctor’s appointment.
- Sit in a different spot at church, and introduce yourself to a guest.
- Smile at others when you drive.
- Pay for someone’s coffee behind you in line and leave a tract.
- Make people feel welcome in your home, no matter how imperfect it may be. They will remember your love and warmth more than a tidy kitchen.
- Bake a meal for a new mommy and deliver it with some fresh flowers.
- Offer to babysit to that mom who may just need time to pee alone without little ankle biters pulling at her legs.
- Visit a widow and simply listen to her. Look her in the eyes and smile. Leave her with a lingering hug.
- Pray for others. Not just say that you are praying, but pray often and with a burdened heart full of compassion.
- Send a snail mail letter of encouragement to a person God lays on your heart.
- Pay attention to others. What do you hear that they like? Keep a notebook and when you are able, surprise them with an unexpected gift that shows you really care.
- Host a bible study in your home.
- Hold a bless-your-missionary party. Make cards and care packages for your missionary families.
- Plant a community garden and share with others.
My daughter has a “fill others bucket board” in her school classroom. When they do something kind for others, they fill their bucket. When others make them feel special or appreciated, they write little notes to thank them for filling their bucket. So go fill someone else’s bucket today, instead of being the hole in their bucket and draining them dry. Life is too short.