By Georgia (Jo) Kent
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” Romans 12:10
‘HOSPITALITY’ the Webster’s Dictionary defines hospitality as: Kindness to visitors: friendly, welcoming, and generous treatment offered to guests or to strangers. Let’s take a journey through Our history of Hospitality beginning with…BIBLICAL HOSPITALITY
Biblical times Hospitality…As presented to us in the Bible was not merely a practice. It was a way of life. Christian hospitality was a sacred process of ‘receiving’ outsiders and changing them from strangers to guests. However, the biblical customs concerning how a person should treat travelers and temporary residents was much different from our idea of hospitality today. It was more than simply ways to be polite or friendly that went beyond entertaining guests. Hospitality customs were a vital part of the culture and people followed these customs as sacred, codes of conduct. The host was obliged to provide a traveler with food, water, and shelter. They even provided them with water to wash their dusty feet and often a servant washed the feet of the guest. This symbolized the acceptance of the stranger and the absence of any hostile intent by the host.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24
Hospitality today…We are living in much different times today. We think of hospitality more as entertaining friends and family. It has become more of a social event. However, just like the early Christians, we must also offer hospitality as a means of sharing The Lord Jesus Christ. By creating a welcoming home, we make the Christian life attractive. The benefits of the act of hospitality can offer friendship, acceptance, fellowship, refreshment, comfort and love in one of the richest and deepest ways possible for others to understand. Friendship provides arms to console [a hug] a heart to understand and feet to walk along beside us when we are going through trials or celebrations. God weaves our lives together, strengthening old friendships and creating new ones.
When we invite our neighbors to church, we are asking them to enter our world in the hopes that they might discover Jesus our Savior. When we invite our neighbors into our homes, we are inviting them to enter our world to see how we as Christians live our lives. Often doors can be opened in the hearts of friends when we first open the door of our home. A time for tea is a way to connect with other Sisters. Hospitality is a crucial element of Christianity that empowers us in God’s service. Tea is a tool we can all use to share hospitality. Offering and sharing a cup of tea gives us many opportunities to witness, share the gospel, teach from the Scriptures, pray with women, and encourage others to simply savor an afternoon moment with God….I think of these moments as ‘Cups of Grace!’
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
Throughout the Bible, God commands us over and over to take notice of and care for those around us. Did you know that hospitality is considered a virtue? We serve Christ directly when we show hospitality to those we don’t know. Christian hospitality is the most important influence on any aspect of Christian living from the biblical days to today. Do you have the gift of hospitality to use for The Lord?