Thoughts on Hospitality
I think that biblical hospitality kind of suffers from a sort of identity crisis. We put it in a weird somewhat undefinable category. We think it only has to do with having people over to our homes and serving them food and maybe giving them lodging.
To be sure, the practice of hospitality can and often does include these things. But it is so much more. And so many Christians pull up short. It's so much more than feeding and housing people graciously. It's more. It's the most practical outworking of costly love. It's clearly meeting the needs of others in simple yet profound ways. Here's an interesting thought: Jesus had nowhere to lay his head and yet He is the epitome of hospitality. Jesus welcomed and excepted all. And still today, anyone who comes to Him by faith is welcomed and accepted into His family, being cared for with the upmost mercy and grace.
The Greek word for hospitality is philoxenos which literally means "welcoming strangers". 1 Peter 4:9 says to "show hospitality to one another without grumbling". We are to welcome one another as strangers. Interesting isn't it? I think what that means is that God wants us to go out of our way in showing practical love for everyone in the body of Christ. Especially those we are closely associated with. And especially those who seem strange to us. We are to do it with an attitude of gladness. With gratitude that we are able to help because we have been blessed by God.
Like Mephibosheth who was shown mercy and sat at David's table, we have been shown mercy and are able to sit at God's table so we should welcome others to ours. And not just to our table to enjoy a meal, but we should open up our hearts and our hands and our homes. Because of the shed blood of Christ on our behalf.
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