Hospitality, A Forgotten Command – Part 2

There are several things that we can take away from this point about hospitality.
First, if a nonbeliever invites us to their home for a meal, we should make it a top priority to go. In

Luke 7, we have the story of a woman anointing and washing Jesus’ feet with her hair, tears, and perfume. This is a major moment in the story. But it also distracts us from another key moment in the story. And it’s this: When Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus to his home for dinner, Jesus went! Similarly, in Luke 14:1, Jesus went to the house of a prominent Pharisee. In other words, if our non- believing friends invite us for dinner, party, fundraiser, or whatever, unless there is a good reason not to go, we should go. Often, I hear Christians say that they have no non-believing friends. Or, that they don’t get to talk to their friends about the bible. Invite them to your home.

Second, we need to make hospitality foundational to our own lifestyle. I would push this even further to suggest that we need to find creative ways to practice hospitality. That’s because for many of us the traditional forms of hospitality are impossible. Maybe we are still living at home with our parents. Take someone out for a cup of coffee. Or we can show up to someone’s place with a pizza. Or we can bake a cake and share it. In all these examples, we all end up creating a space where we eat and drink together. And ultimately end up connecting, relating, and talking.

Third, hospitality is a form of generosity. Hospitality is costly. It costs time, effort, and money. But as a result, hospitality gives us social capital. This allows us to talk about matters – matters that our friends might not agree with, but they will give us permission to disagree because we have earned their trust. And if we have been generous to them, then they will most likely be equally generous to us by at least listening to our views, even if they don’t agree with what we are saying. Hospitality also makes the host vulnerable. They are opening their private home to guests. But in doing so, hospitality invites the guests to be vulnerable in return. This is a safe space where they can talk about private matters that are weighty to their heart. If all the above is true, why do we still hear there are two things that we must not talk about at a dinner namely, politics and religion?

When we practice hospitality to each other as Christians we are developing relationships. Hebrews 10:24-25, “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” We often use this in reference to the assembling to worship and rightly so, however, the result of coming together in our homes produces the same affect to “provoke love, good deeds, and encouragement.” It is really getting to know one another and spending time with each other. These are things that all of us need. That is why elders need to be hospitable. How can they lead a flock that they don’t know?

There are many examples of Jesus being invited to the homes of so many. It was there that Jesus took opportunities to teach and exhort his host and others. The same is true with the apostles and it should be the same with us today. I have to say if you are not practicing hospitality to strangers and to other Christians, you are missing out on a great opportunity of teaching God’s word and developing lasting relationships. Solomon said that the “quality of life is finding good folks and having a good meal” and that is true. There is nothing like sitting around the dinner table and eating a good meal with people that you care about and having a good conversation. Practicing hospitality follows the model of Jesus, who ate with sinners and tax collectors. It was a way He expressed His love for them. Hospitality is an expression of love.

Written by: Rick Billingsley

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