As we gather together, I would like to speak about a topic that holds great significance to God: hospitality. This virtue has been a part of human practice since the beginning of time and is one that the Church must not disregard.
The act of hospitality is prevalent throughout the Bible, and Jesus is a prime example of demonstrating it. His hospitality was founded in his profound love for all individuals, irrespective of their social status or situation. In this discourse, we will delve into the concept of Jesus’ hospitality through the lens of his radical love, comprehend its implications for us, and examine how we can incorporate it into our everyday lives.
Jesus’ Hospitality: Core of the Gospel
Jesus’ hospitality was revolutionary, transcending cultural boundaries and societal norms. This act challenges the status quo and calls for a counter-cultural approach. It involves extending kindness and embracing diversity, reaching out to those who are different from us. Jesus welcomed outcasts, sinners, and tax collectors to his inner circle, demonstrating the inclusive nature of his love. He calls us to follow his example, practicing hospitality with radical love.
Matthew 25:35 says, “For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in.” Jesus tells us that when we serve others, we serve Him (Matthew 25:31-43). We are called to provide food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, and a home to the stranger. When we extend hospitality to those who are different from us, we create a safe and welcoming space where people can experience the love of Christ and be drawn closer to Him. This means intentionally breaking down barriers that may exist between different groups of people, actively seeking out those who are on the edges of society, and making them feel welcome.
Creating an environment that is safe and welcoming for all requires us to be intentional about our language, communication, and behavior. We should strive to create spaces where people can come together, share their stories, and experiences without judgment. Practicing hospitality and radical love creates opportunities to share the gospel with others, as demonstrated in Acts 2:42-47. By inviting people into our homes, sharing meals, and providing a space where they can experience the love of Christ, we can lead them to salvation.
Being willing to serve others is another way to practice hospitality and radical love. It requires putting others before ourselves, laying down our own desires for the good of others. This means being willing to sacrifice our time, resources, and even our own comfort for the sake of others.
In the 21st century, we have access to many resources to practice hospitality, including social media and online giving. However, we must remember that hospitality is not just programs or initiatives but the very heart of the gospel. As followers of Christ, we are called to love one another as He has loved us, showing hospitality to strangers and caring for those in need. When we practice hospitality and radical love, we live out our faith in tangible ways, making the love of Christ visible to the world.
Biblical Passages about Hospitality
The Bible speaks to us clearly about hospitality and its importance, and I want to share with you ten passages to encourage us to practice hospitality in our time.
1. Hospitality is an expression of love (1 Peter 4:8-9). When we show hospitality, we are demonstrating love to our fellow believers and even to those who are not believers. It is a way of showing care and concern for their needs.
2. Hospitality is a command from God (Romans 12:13). As Christians, we are called to be hospitable. It is not an option, but a command from our Lord. In Romans 12:13, Paul instructs us to “practice hospitality.” This commandment shows us that hospitality is not just something we do when we feel like it, but it is a priority for every follower of Christ.
3. Hospitality is an opportunity to serve others, especially strangers or those in need (Hebrews 13:2). When we open our homes and our hearts to others, we are creating a warm and inviting atmosphere where people feel valued and accepted. The Scriptures says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
4. Hospitality is a way to show God’s grace (Luke 14:12-14). Jesus tells us to invite those who cannot repay us. When we show hospitality to those who cannot repay us, we are showing them God’s grace.
5. Hospitality is a way to share the gospel (Romans 10:14-15). When we welcome others into our homes, we have the opportunity to share the gospel with them. We can demonstrate our faith through our actions, and show them the love of Christ in a tangible way.
6. Hospitality is a way to practice generosity (2 Corinthians 9:7). When we practice hospitality, we are sharing our resources with others. We are giving of ourselves, and showing generosity to those around us.
7. Hospitality is a way to build relationships (Proverbs 18:24). When we open our homes to others, we have the opportunity to build strong relationships. We can share our lives with them, and create a community of love and support.
8. Hospitality is a way to be a witness to the world (John 13:34-35). Jesus tells His disciples that they will be known for their love for one another. When we practice hospitality, we are demonstrating our love for each other and for those around us. We are being a witness to the world of the transformative power of love.
9. Hospitality is a way to create a welcoming community (Acts 2:42-47). In this passage, we see the early Church practicing hospitality by sharing meals and resources with each other. They create a community of love and support, and many are added to their number as a result. Hospitality creates diversity.
10. Hospitality is a way to honor God (Hebrews 13:16). When we show hospitality, we are demonstrating our love for God. We are using the gifts and resources that He has given us to serve others and to bring glory to His name.
How Inherited Churches can Practice Hospitality?
Here are 5 practical suggestions:
1. Lead by example: As leaders, we must model hospitality and radical love in our own lives. When we practice what we preach, others will be more likely to follow.
2. Preach on hospitality: Educate the congregation on the significance of hospitality and radical love through sermons. Share biblical examples and provide practical suggestions for practicing hospitality in our daily lives.
3. Create opportunities for fellowship: Plan events and activities that bring people together and create a space for hospitality. Encourage people to invite their friends and neighbors to these events.
4. Start small: Hospitality doesn’t have to be a big production. Start small by inviting a few people over for dinner or offering to help someone in need. Small acts of kindness can make a big impact.
5. Be intentional: Look for opportunities to practice hospitality in your daily life. Whether it’s inviting a coworker to lunch or welcoming a new family to church, be intentional about showing love to those around you.
When we choose to combine hospitality and radical love, we unleash a formidable force that can positively impact the lives of individuals and entire communities. However, it is important to acknowledge that embodying hospitality and radical love is not a simple task. It requires us to venture outside of our comfort zones and open ourselves up to others. It necessitates us to take risks and become vulnerable. Nevertheless, by doing so, we create a space where healing and relationships can thrive. Furthermore, hospitality and radical love compel us to see beyond the superficial and into the core of a person. We must perceive others as Christ perceives them and appreciate them for who they are, not just for what they can do for us.
My dear friends, let us heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit and keep a lookout for opportunities to demonstrate hospitality and love in our daily lives. In doing so, we become vessels of God’s grace and exhibit the transformative power of radical love. May our lives be a reflection of Christ’s love, and may we remain steadfast in fulfilling his mandate to love one another. Amen.