Leviticus 14
Matthew 26:51-75

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”      —Proverbs 11:25

What we will discover as we practice hospitality is that even though we open up our home and welcome others, very few people will do the same for us. The lack of reciprocity may lead us to feel bitter and possibly even resentful. This is why in Peter’s letter he wrote, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9). 

Second Kings 4:8-37 tells a beautiful story about hospitality. A wealthy Shunammite woman and her husband would invite the prophet Elisha into their home for food whenever he passed by. Eventually, the Shunammite woman said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.’” (2 Kings 4:9-10). Later, Elisha wanted to bless the Shunammite woman and asked his servant, Gehazi, to call for her and say “You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?” The Shunammite woman replied, “I have a home among my own people” (2 Kings 4:13). The Shunammite woman is an example of true hospitality because she did not expect anything in return for offering hospitality to Elisha.

Despite the Shunammite woman being content with what she had, Elisha still wanted to bless her and learned from Gehazi that she had no son and her husband was old. Hence, Elisha told the Shunammite woman, “At this season, about this time next year, you shall embrace a  son” (ESV).  The Shunammite woman responded, “No, my lord! Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!” (2 Kings 2:16). But true to the prophet’s word, the Shunammite woman conceived and bore a son. Her generous hospitality resulted in a blessing that she did not dare to hope for.

Whether or not we experience hospitality from those that we show hospitality to, we are called to love and offer hospitality to people. If we have never practiced hospitality, start with praying and asking God if there is somebody at church or at work that we would like to invite over to our home. We can start small and allow God to grow our heart for hospitality. 

As we practice hospitality, we will find that the true blessing of hospitality lies not in the reciprocation of others, but the blessedness that comes from humble obedience to God.

Almighty God, help me to be obedient in practicing hospitality. I ask for You to reveal to me whom I could extend hospitality to this week. Thank You, God.

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