Hearty Hospitality (Part 1)
Pastor Ben’s wife
The biblical view of hospitality is radical- “hearty” if you will. When you really look at how Jesus received and treated others, we pale in comparison even on our best day and at our best dinner party. God has called us to hospitality that goes beyond the norm.
Hospitality is one of those terms that’s used a lot but not often defined. Let’s explore the general meaning of the word and then go into how God lays out our call to hospitality as followers of Him.
: given to generous and cordial (showing warm and hearty friendliness, favor, or approval) reception of guests.
: the friendly and generous reception of visitors, guests, or strangers.
Hospitality then is really the way we receive people: both in tangible ways and in the atmosphere of love and acceptance we create. Scripture has a lot to teach us about how we interact with others and what it truly means to be hospitable.
I love this passage in Matthew where Jesus talks about the judgement day and how those who have been saved by God showed hospitality in their lives.
Matthew 25:34-40 “‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or without clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit you?’ “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
I’m not going to get into the judgement or anything like that, but I do think this is a cool passage that shows us a lot about how we’re to live this life on earth. We are to value all people equally as image bearers of God. Strangers, those in prison, the poor, the sick, the hungry, thirsty, and needy are all valued here and throughout the Bible and are to be shown love in tangible ways, not just our words. Loving others is the same thing as loving God! Giving our time and care, our food, sharing what we have, inviting people in- this costly kind of love is how we show that God has changed our hearts and that we truly love Him.
Romans 13:8 also says,
“Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not covet; and any other commandment, are summed up by this commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.”
Hospitality and love go hand in hand. Really all we’re called to do comes down to loving God above all and then loving others. That doesn’t mean it’s easy all the time or that we’ll do it perfectly, but it is simple and everything flows out of that love we have for God and others. Jesus did love others perfectly on our behalf and fulfilled all of the law for us, giving us His perfect standing before God and PROVING His perfect love for us by dying in our place. That kind of love changes us! When we really understand the depth of our sin and His amazing love for us even while we were still His enemies, it will compel us to love ALL others in the same way that He loved us- with action.
How has the perfect love of Jesus been shaping how you receive others?