On Mothers Day we looked at the wonderful account of a woman in 2 Kings who reached out with hospitality, and how that profoundly blessed her own life. Hospitality is a way that the Lord wants His children to show His love to others, as seen in these verses:
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love, practicing hospitality.” (Romans 12:10, 13)
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers…” (Hebrews 13:2)
“Be hospitable to one another without complaint.” (1 Peter 4:9)
In his book, The Hospitality Commands, Alexander Strauch makes these comments:
“I don’t think most Christians today understand how essential hospitality is to fanning the flames of love and strengthening the Christian family. Hospitality fleshes out love in a uniquely personal and sacrificial way. Through the ministry of hospitality, we share our most prized possessions. We share our family, home, finances, food, privacy, and time. Indeed, we share our lives. So, hospitality is always costly. Through the ministry of hospitality, we provide friendship, acceptance, fellowship, refreshment, comfort, and love in one of the richest and deepest ways possible for humans to understand. Unless we open the doors of our homes to one another, the reality of the local church as a close-knit family of loving brothers and sisters is only a theory.
A cold, unfriendly church contradicts the gospel message. Yet unfriendliness stands out as one of the most common criticisms people have of local churches. It doesn’t take people long to figure out that there is a “churchy” love among Christians that ends at the back door of the sanctuary or in the parking lot. It is a superficial Sunday-morning kind of love that is unwilling to venture beyond the walls of the church building.
Brotherly love, however, entails intimate relationship, care for one another, knowledge of one another, belonging together, and sharing life together. We cannot know or grow close to our brothers and sisters by meeting for an hour and fifteen minutes a week with a large group in a church sanctuary. The home is the ideal place in which to build relationships and closeness.
I often hear people say, “Oh, we just don’t know anyone; we can’t make any friends at church.” I have a suggestion that might solve the problem. It comes from a couple who had a hard time feeling as if they belonged in their congregation. Instead of leaving, as so many people do, they decided to invite every person in the church to their home for dinner during the next year. By the end of the year, they knew everyone in the church and had made a number of close friendships!
Pray that God will give you joy in this service for Him. Confess your selfishness, pride, and disobedience that have hindered you from opening your home to others. Ask the Lord to show you in His Word why hospitality is important. Remember, the Lord knows what is best for us.”