Hospitality

<<welcome, kindness>>

This ‘love in action’ is outward looking, being concerned and considerate of others, freely and generously sharing with them, doing to them as we would that they do to us – having others in for a friendly coffee and chat, a meal or to stay – opening your home and your heart (Lk 6:31; Act 4:32). An open home is a non-threatening environment in which to get to know others, sharing with them the gospel and having Christian fellowship.  The early church practiced this, later Priscilla and Aquila blessed Apollos this way (Act 2:46,47, 18:26).

Jesus said, anyone who welcomes one of His followers into their homes is in effect welcoming Him and will be rewarded (Mt 25:35-45).  Hospitality is not putting on a show or entertainment that focuses on the host family, rather in an

Jesus said, “Whatever you did for the least, you                                      did it for me” – Matthew 25:40

attitude of friendship, it is offering love and acceptance centered on the guest, making them feel at home and meeting their needs. Even giving a cup of cold water in His name will not go unrewarded (Mt 10:40-42). It provides opportunity for both parties to be enriched through the interaction of entering into each other’s lives to encourage, challenge and inspire to bring about change in a non-threatening environment.

Often we don’t recognise or are insensitive to those around us, thus neglecting our responsibility as Christians to minister in the name of Christ to the needs of others, and so miss the reward and blessing we would have received. Martha was so busy caring for Jesus’ perceived needs she neglected to spend time learning and communing with Him (Lk 10:38-42).

The Bible instructs, rather than just being hospitable to those who will repay the gesture, to open your home and minister to the needs of those who are unable to return your kindness (Isa 58:7; Lk 14:12-14). True Christianity is practical and endeavours to meet people’s physical needs as well as their spiritual needs – not just with words but also actions – proving we really are concerned about their wellbeing (Jas 1:27, 2:15-17; 1 Jn 3:17,18).  Good works are to done in love, from a grateful heart, not as a duty or obligation, because all we have received is from God (1 Jn 4:9,10).

Paul exhorted, “Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality” (Rom 12:13). Later he wrote, “I and the whole church enjoy” the hospitality of a friend – this kindness was not selective but all inclusive (Rom 16:22). “As we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people…” (Gal 6:10).

With wisdom and discretion, hospitality should also be shown to non-Christians, but not to those who are false teachers (2 Jn 1:10,11). “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without realising it” (Gen 18:1-3; Heb 13:2). Who know the outcome of such wholesome interaction.

One of the qualifications for an elder is he must be hospitable (Tit 1:8).

See also: benevolence, golden rule, good works, needs, others, share.


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