Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Practicing Hospitality

Hebrews 13:1-2  “Let brotherly love continue.  Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”

Picture this.  Your congregation is getting ready to host a gospel meeting with a visiting preacher.  Someone posts a “meal sign-up” list.  You mean to go by and sign up, but you haven’t had much time to clean the house, and you really don’t have time to plan and to cook an elaborate dinner, so you let it slide.  Or, you remember you haven’t even looked at the list since it was posted, and it’s the first day of the meeting.  When you do look at it, you realize only one slot has been filled.

 Is hospitality a dying art?  Sometimes I wonder.  God wants us to show hospitality (Romans 12:13).  I think that many women in today’s society need to remember that hospitality is not only a Biblical commandment, but is a necessity to build a stronger, more unified church.  Why don’t Christians serve each other this way?  Maybe it’s just the way society has evolved over time.  We do things that the world has to offer.  Things like football games, soccer practice, piano or swimming lessons, or band practice.  There is nothing wrong with those things, but our focus and time is spent more on things instead of God.   Have we become a selfish people?  Perhaps we don’t want to spend the time or effort to do what God would have us to do.  I John 3:17 says “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?   If we are spending our time and efforts on attaining worldly things and not opening our homes and hearts to our Christian family, can God’s love abide in us?

 Opening up your home is a wonderful way to show hospitality.  So many of us are concerned over the condition of our carpet and upholstery, and we allow that to stand in our way of showing hospitality.  It doesn’t matter if your silverware matches, or if you’re not a talented chef.  You can eat pizza on paper plates.  What matters are the relationships being formed.  Sure, we want our home to be at its best when we have company, but trivial things should not stand in our way of being hospitable. 

 Here are a few ideas for showing hospitality in our homes.  Host a game night with popcorn and sodas.  If your finances are low, fix a spaghetti dinner.  Host a potluck.  Invite 2 or 3 families in for dinner and have them bring a dish to share.  Fix a dessert to serve after evening worship services.  Invite new members or visitors over to share and discuss the sermons or Bible class lessons from the day.  Open your Bibles as visit.  Open your home at the holidays.  There are often members who are unable to return home for the holidays due to work or distance, and would enjoy spending the day with a family instead of alone.  Invite the visiting or located preacher for a meal.  Set a goal for yourself.  Plan to have one family a month for an entire year.  Maybe you can only schedule four to six times a year, or maybe you can entertain more frequently.  Pinpoint some members of your congregation that could benefit from your hospitality.  Young people, teenagers, college students, singles, widows, young parents, empty nesters, retirees, any of these groups would benefit by your hospitality. 

 Hospitality demonstrates our faithfulness to God.  There are many examples of hospitality sprinkled throughout the Bible.  Abraham, Lot, Job, Lydia, Mary and Martha, even Jesus showed hospitality.  If these individuals were able to provide hospitality, how much easier it should be for us with our modern conveniences.  Let’s all make a resolve to be more hospitable, and put it into practice!  You never know, you may be entertaining some angels?

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