Leviticus 8-10
Matthew 25:31-46

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practise hospitality.”     —Romans 12:13

Do we practice hospitality? In an informal survey done at a local church, a pastor asked people who were active and committed in church community why they did not practice hospitality or do more of it. The top four reasons found were 1) they were too busy, 2) there was tension and preparation fatigue, 3) the cost of hospitality and 4) a fear of doing it.

Despite these four reasons, it is crucial for us to practice hospitality. Why? In the first-century early church, success of mission happened because ordinary men and women, whose name we will not know until we get to heaven, opened their homes and their hearts—this is what the ministry of hospitality is. Although today, when people become missionaries, there are mission organizations and churches back home that provide for them and people on the field to welcome and take care of medical needs, government regulations and all things. This does not negate the necessity for us to continue the ministry of hospitality.

The Greek word for “hospitality” is philoxenos, which is a compound word that combines phileo meaning “love” and xenos meaning “stranger.” In other words, hospitality literally means “the love of a stranger.” This is the context that hospitality is carried in. In the early church, people provided for brothers and sisters who showed up in their homes without any advance notice and helped them on their way as they stayed for an unspecified number of days. In this context, as they lived and shared meals together, a heart to heart connection was forged and they became partners in mission.

Hospitality is the use of our home to build heart-to-heart relationships with brothers and sisters in the Lord to be blessed and to bless. It is not just for the early church, it is also for us today. 1 Peter 4:9-10 tells us, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Even though hospitality is one of the spiritual gifts, which means some people have it and some do not, hospitality remains a duty for all of us. For example, some people have the gift of giving, but all of us are commanded to give.

Paul tells us, “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality” (Romans 12:13, ESV). The word “seek” in the Greek means “to pursue, to run after.” In other words, we are not to offer hospitality half-heartedly but to look for opportunities to be hospitable to people. In the upcoming days or weeks, may we open our hearts for opportunities to practice hospitality.

Father God, I admit that I make excuses not to practice hospitality. Please open my heart to be willing to welcome others and love them as You do. Thank You, Lord.

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