Before we dig into that, I think it is important to look at who the Bible calls to showing hospitality. While it is a requirement for being an elder, it is really a requirement for all believers. The New Testament regularly talks about our need to be hospitable. So, just because you don’t have the “gift of hospitality”, does not mean that you are off the hook. We are all called to be open to loving and serving others in our homes, and with our time.
One disclaimer before we start: God places our families in our homes for a purpose, and they are to be the first recipients of our grace and hospitality. Those within our family could easily fit into any of the following categories. Ensuring that our children and spouses and extended family members receive the grace and gospel through our hospitality should be the first who in we look to in living hospitably. Obviously, hospitality looks different for those within our family, but the heart behind it remains the same.
Okay…on to the “who” of giving out our hospitality.
The church and fellow laborers for the gospel
The Bible is filled will verses about showing hospitality to the brethren, to believers and to those who are laboring for the sake of the gospel. Paul writes about it in Romans, Peter in 1 Peter, and John in 3 John. It is clear that our hospitality should extend to those who are in the family of God. We are told to share with members of the family of God who are in need. We are called to live with our homes and our time open and available to the saints. Paul also commends those who have shown hospitality to him on his missionary journeys.
While we are told to show hospitality to the believers we know, we are also told to care for strangers by being hospitable towards them as well. Hebrews talks about how we might be serving angels when we are showing hospitality towards those we do not know.
Those who are in need
So…what does this look like in our lives. While this will be a little different for each of you based on where you live and your stage in life, these lists are a good start!
Believers in your life
- Those who are new to the church.
- College students who may not have family in the area.
- Young couples
- Single Parents
- Pastors and those in ministry full time
Non-believers and Strangers
- Those who are new to your area
- Parents from your child’s school, or sports teams
- Friends from a different faith or culture
Those who are in need
- Those who are struggling spiritually
- Refugee families
- Those who are struggling financially
- Foster children
- Those coming out of prison or rehab
- Women in abusive relationships
- Anyone without a support system in place
Basically, we are called to show hospitality to everyone. This is why hospitality has to be about a more than just a well planned dinner party. Being hospitable, opening up your home and giving your time to others, communicates that you value them. It puts you face to face with someone and lets them know that you see them; that you care for them. Hospitality can be a bridge to long, meaningful relationships that would have never been established had someone not reached out.
So, look around you. Who are the people in your life with whom you might want to be intentional? How can you begin showing hospitality to those people this month?
AND……Come back on Friday for some practical ideas that don’t involve Pinterest or centerpieces ;)!
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