The Bible encourages us to be “given to hospitality” (Rom. 12:13 KJV). It also says, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2). There is nothing more dangerous to happiness in the home than to be too much occupied with ourselves. It leads to selfishness. If God has blessed us with good homes and harmonious family relations with one another, His desire is that our homes should be a kind of ante-room to heaven into which a stranger may be received with kindness, that he may take in the atmosphere of Christian love, peace and joy. Paul’s encouragement to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16) can only be fully realized by the family if we invite into our homes those who perhaps are not so favored as we are. This act of hospitality will enrich our family life and give blessing to others as well.
When the Lord Jesus was here in this world, He was “despised and rejected of men, a Man of sorrows” (Isa. 53:3). He was a person “of no reputation” (Phil. 2:7), yet there was a home in the little town of Bethany that was not ashamed to receive Him into the warmth of its family circle.
Martha and Mary had no misgivings about taking into their home someone the neighbors did not approve of, and who was generally recognized as an undesirable. Yet think what they gained by receiving Christ into their house! When Lazarus died it was their guest, who had been with them so recently, who raised him from the dead, and gave him back to the rejoicing hearts of Mary and Martha as well as their neighbors (Jn. 11:30-45).
Thus we see how much we gain by taking others into our family circle of friendliness. Perhaps we cannot have Jesus the Lord in person as our guest, but we may have His people to enrich our home life, and give us a sense that we are but a part of that larger family of all God’s children, bound by eternal ties of divine love.
May the Lord then exercise our hearts concerning the real personality of our homes – a superstructure of moral attributes built upon the foundation of correct family attitudes toward God, toward each other, and toward those outside our family circle. It is only when we recognize Christ as Lord, His Word as supreme, and ourselves in submission to one another in the fear of Christ (Eph. 5:21), that true harmony in our homes will be realized and enjoyed by the family and those invited to share in it.
So let us be more than careful to avoid selfishness and pride, and recognize that our homes should be a blessing to those around us. Thus only shall we fulfill what we so often say: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:15).
By Tom Westwood
What Hospitality Is, And What It Isn’t!
Hospitality is not about having a big house, the finest dishes or the nicest furniture. It’s not about being a good cook. Hospitality is not about showing off, but about showing love. It’s not about being a good talker either, but about being a good listener. Hospitality has much more to do with giving comfort than giving advice. The “hospital” part of the word leads us to think of hospitality as the act of dispensing grace – in doses large enough to cheer, to comfort, to encourage and even to heal.
By Larry & Lois ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org