1 Peter 4:9 (ESV) Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Hebrews 13:2 (ESV) Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Romans 12:13 (ESV) Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Credit where credit is due: I’ve learned so much about hospitality from Nic Burleson of Timber Ridge Church in Stephenville, TX. Nic is a “Release” brother, and fellow Northwood Church, church planter. Nic get’s hospitality. I try to soak it up when I’m around Nic. So, Nic, if you see familiar stuff, it’s because it’s yours! Thank you!
I’ve been known to ask our greeters off and on this question: What is the difference between a visitor and a guest? Do you know the answer to that question?
Why care about hospitality? Because God created a planet, put us on it in creating us, showed us around, welcomed us into it, allowed us to enjoy its abundance and put us in charge of subduing it and making it more fruitful. God himself came, in the flesh, and showed us his glory, lived sinless, died for us, then rose for us, to save us, to adopt us and make us sons and daughters. God did all of this to us and for us for his glory. We are recipients of divine hospitality.
I encourage you to think on the above passages and multitudes of others that put what hospitality looks like on full display…like Jesus washing his disciple’s feet.
Some thoughts for us come Sunday:
- Hospitality assumes you have invited someone who needs to be welcomed appropriately. That means everyone is a greeter…if you are inviting people to the kingdom to be introduced to the king. Don’t fail to be present or on time. If you do either one of those you may miss an evangelistic opportunity to be like Christ, make Jesus known and see the fruit of that labor.
- Treat people like guest not visitors. Visitors just show up. Guests were invited and planned for and expected. Show people you expected their presence.
- Treat them to a cup of coffee. Why do we have coffee? So we can be consumers and get a jolt because we didn’t drink enough at home? No! So we can welcome each other, serve each other, welcome guests and show that we serve and expect one another to be present and meet the Lord. Is it necessary? No. Does it display we care? Yes! Notice how we hang around, talking, sharing life. Do that with someone new or with a new guest this week.
- Think about what it was like to be new somewhere? Did people look at you funny, ignore you or take the effort to make sure you were “at home”? Make sure people’s needs are cared for. If they look new, they likely are, so go talk to them, offer them coffee, get it for them. Ask their name. Sit with them if they’d be ok with it.
Hospitality requires us to get “outside of ourselves”. Often it’s easy to be so concerned with “us” that we forget the “other”. That’s not Christ-like. That’s not hospitality.
You know what I’ve found? My weariness and frustration go away when I serve others. That may be God’s divine gift to people serving. Everyone be a greeter this week, and see if it makes a difference. When we show biblical hospitality, even those who are outside the faith and perhaps seeking to get in, will see a little more of Jesus at work so that when the gospel is proclaimed there were some walls already knocked down because we treated people well.
Let’s get after hospitality!