Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it. Hebrews 13:1-2
When you think of hospitality, of what do you think? We often think of the “hospitality industry.” Restaurants, hotels, caterers, travel agents, businesses that offer food, drink, and a place to stay. For the most part, their aim is to make a stranger feel welcome. Cared for. Comfortable in their space.
Among believers this includes inviting others into our homes. Again, offering food, drink, and a place of comfort and safety. A place to hang out and rest.
For a number of years it has seemed that our home has been a revolving door of guests. Strangers at one time. Having three kids, all in various stages of life, means most often playdates and parties. But it often seems at times these extended into loud, rambunctious sleepovers. This place became the place where people crashed. It is often filled with loud, giggling teens, and has been for years.
While there is food. Drink. A place to stay. That isn’t all that keeps the door revolving.
Because here’s the thing. Wherever you are invited-the food could be fantastic, and the bed perfectly made. You can be served a spread to your heart’s content, and still not feel welcome in some spaces.
While we equate the art of hospitality to eating and sleeping at times, it is more than ensuring these needs are met. It’s that special ingredient that has people sticking around long after the food is eaten, the dishes are washed, and many of the guests have left.
In terms of biblical hospitality-yes, it is welcoming others into our homes, but it extends beyond this. It is welcoming both “friends” and strangers alike. Not keeping outsiders on the fringes and outskirts of your group. It is a big smile to the ones you know, and the ones you just met. It is greeting a person by name. It is inviting someone new to your table at that after church potluck meal, or to sit with you on that youth group sofa. It’s doing these things inside the walls of your church, just as much as you do them inside the walls of your home.
It is serving more than just good food to a select few, but offering Jesus to all.
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