The Bible teaches us to offer hospitality to others. In Titus, hospitality is one of the qualifications for church leaders. Paul said "He must be hospitable". What does that really mean today? With our lives filled to the brim and running over with so many things to do and responsibilities to fulfill, what and when do we have time to be "hospitable". The Living Bible sheds some light on this verse by saying "They must enjoy having guests in their home." Do you enjoy having guests in your home? I do! Having been raised in a Pastor's home, I grew up with guests in the house. Looking back on that experience, I believe it is what has made me love extending hospitality to others today.
The Bible is full of examples of others practicing hospitality. In verse 13 of Titus, the Living Bible says this, "When God's children are in need, you be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night." I think it's pretty clear that God wants us to "practice" offering hospitality to others. Hospitality is very different than entertainment. Entertainment seeks to amuse and divert one from routine. True hospitality seeks to minister to the needs of others.
Recently, I was talking to a man whose wife has been diagnosed with cancer. She has been going for weekly treatments and he is committed to staying right by her side. Obviously, others things aren't getting done. Like mowing the yard, cooking the meals, cleaning the house and other mundane but necessary chores to keep the home going. He shared with me that he was disappointed because so few of his "brothers and sisters in Christ" have called or offered help. I was mortified! I realized that I could do more! Even though our lives are full and at times hectic, I believe it is imperative that we look for and indeed seek out ways to offer hospitality. Many people won't ask for help but they will accept it if it is offered. I recently heard a Pastor say that "you are never closer to God than when you offer mercy and a helping hand to someone in need". God's heart beats with mercy and compassion. He desires us to be his hands and feet on this earth.
When I hear the word hospitality, I always think of hospital. What goes on in a hospital? Usually sick and injured people come to be restored and made whole again. What an incredible picture that presents for how we can offer up our home to be a place that can restore and offer wholeness to others through Christ Jesus. It is so true that we never know what shoes someone is walking in. They may desperately need someone to just share a meal with them, offer companionship or help carry their burden. My prayer is that we all begin "practicing" hospitality. Quit worrying that your house isn't perfect or you aren't a gourmet cook. Just extend the invitation and be yourself! Let God do the rest! His ability outshines ours every time!
From the Life & Style Session "Inspired Living". Do you have a story to tell about a time when someone offered hospitality to you when you needed it the most? I'd love to hear your story. Comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until I see you again,