Hospitality is a word that is only used four times in the New Testament. Two times it is referring to a list of qualifications for the bishop and deacon. The other two times is is a command given to Christians.
Rom 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Given to: pursue, press towards
hospitality: entertain strangers
1Pe 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
hospitality: fond of guests
grudging: grumbling, murmuring
As you can see hospitality is not just an idea or a suggestion, it is a command. Imagine my surprise when I learned that you did not have to be in the ministry to practice hospitality or be hospitable.
One of the most hospitable people I know is my mother in law. She has been in the ministry for over 20 years. She would stand in the back of the church after church and invite everybody over to play games. Her kids friends were always welcomed. She opened her home to a cancer patient who needed to to be near a hospital. My husband said that all of his friends wanted to come over to his house because it was so much fun. She is one of the best examples to me in the area of hospitality.
I have had to learn a few lessons in hospitality since being on the field. I loved having friends and family over. Entertaining strangers, that is leaving my comfort zone. Here are a few things I have learned so far:
1. Hospitality is as much an attitude as it is an action.
Being friendly, smiling, talking, laughing is all part of being hospitable. People need to feel welcomed and loved in your homes.
2. Not everything has to be perfect.
In our home I operate under, everything is decent and in order. That is how I try to train my kids and myself. If we have made plans to have company over I will take the time to due deep cleaning. However, for unexpected or last minute I can relax knowing at least everything is decent.
3. Use what God has provided.
God gave us the command to use hospitality and to be hospitable. Some Sundays I have enough to feed our guest dinner. Then there are weeks when I can only make muffins and coffee.
4. Remember this is not my home.
I know, and I believe, that our homes are to be a safety place for our families. However, we need to remember why we are here, who we serve, and where our final home is.
Hospitality is one way God wanted us to show love to the strangers amongst us. Pray that God will send you the people he wants you to minister to and then do it.
Sarah LeClercq, Guam