Our God is a hospitable God. He extends tremendous hospitality to us (e.g. Psalm 23:5).
He welcomes us into His presence when we come to Him through Jesus. It’s not like we have to clean ourselves up or make ourselves acceptable to come into His presence.
And He loves us!
Being Like Jesus
Now, here’s what we’re called to do: We’re to reflect His image, and that reflection should be characteristic of our lives. Hospitality is for all of us. It’s a mark of a true Christian.
Hospitality is a receptiveness of people. Honest receptivity means inviting strangers into our world on the strangers’ terms, not ours.
When we say, “You can be my guest if you believe the way I believe, think the way I think, behave as I behave,” we’re offering love under a condition or for a price.
But God says, “I’m going to take you just the way you are. Come to Me.”
Spreading the Gospel
Romans 12:13 tells us to be “given to hospitality.” The real idea of hospitality is to be friendly, to be helpful, particularly to those who are strangers to you—those who are in need.
We can show hospitality to our family. We’ll even go a bit further to show it to extended family. But what about to the person we don’t know?
In Romans 12:13, the word given in Greek means “to pursue something; to ardently follow after something; to hotly pursue something” until you finally catch it. It means, I’m not gonna give up, I’m not gonna let down, I’m gonna keep going after it.
Hospitality isn’t something we should take lightly. Could it be that the gospel is not greatly advancing in the United States because we are continually studying and learning but not doing? We’re not opening the door to a complete stranger, bringing them in, and showing them the love of Christ?
Everyone needs to know that someone cares about them, and that’s what hospitality is. It’s actively showing, “I care about you.”
Let’s think back 150 years. They didn’t have the Marriott, the Four Seasons, or the Holiday Inn. So when people would travel, they would have to depend on the hospitality of others.
“Would you take us in, would you feed us, would you encourage us?” That’s how the gospel spread in Paul’s day!
It went out through men and women practicing hospitality—going out, taking the gospel to other communities, and being welcomed into homes to share with others. As those others became believers, they would welcome more people in to hear the truth of God’s Word.
It wasn’t about going to a Sunday morning service. Lives in action—revived lives—are willing to live this way.
Everything we do ultimately stems from our beliefs. Our theology defines our methodology.
If this is our theology, then we should be living sacrifices. We should seek and pursue hospitality.
Sincere hospitality does not necessarily mean pressed linens, home-cooked meals, a clean house, fresh flowers, matching dishes, and well-behaved children.
At times we live in this mindset: If the laundry isn’t done, if the house is not in order, if “this” or “that” isn’t just right, then we can’t be hospitable.
But this is all the more reason to bring someone in, to see your real life. Not a perceived life. People need to see the disarray of our real lives.
Sincere hospitality is sharing what you have, not what you don’t have. It’s sharing who you are.
Sincere hospitality is involving your family and others in serving. It’s inviting others into your home in its disarray. It’s inviting others into your real life, according to their needs vs. your convenience.
Sincere hospitality makes itself available whenever a need arises. I hope that, more and more, the revived church will say, “In the midst of inconvenience, we are going to rise up.”
In order to be sincerely hospitable, we have to understand that:
- Our pride needs to be addressed.
- Our sense of perfection is a lie.
- Our possessiveness has the potential to be a reflection of selfishness.
- We are hospitable as unto the Lord, not for reciprocation or accolades.
- Our provisions come from God, who owns everything.
- God gives to us for the purpose of our giving generously to others.
- The most important thing we can share is not food or our home, but Christ.
Making It Personal
When is the last time you were hospitable? When is the last time you pursued hospitality? When is the last time you opened up your life so Christ could come through and be the gospel to the lost?
Who is one person you could show hospitality to in the next week? Ask God to reveal them to you, and make it your goal, as a living sacrifice, to extend hospitality to that one person.
Let it be known of the church that we are a group of people in action, doing God’s work for strangers.