Yesterday, I read in Our Daily Bread that hospitality is something that is expected of every follower of Jesus as an expression of love. Paul urges the Roman Christians to be, “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 12:10-13).
Peter was more direct. “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9).
I learned that the Greek word translated “hospitality” means “love of strangers”. The word also means “generous to guests”. As I read this I thought of Abraham who welcomed three strangers into his home.
Abraham went out of his way to make the three men feel welcome. He had water brought to wash their feet; he invited them to rest under the tree and had a fine meal prepared for them (Genesis 18). Abraham unwittingly entertained angels. Lot did the same and we read about it in Genesis 19:1-3. These incidents were later mentioned in Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”
When I first attended my old church, the members made me feel welcome. I felt so at home there. A few of them invited me for lunch on the Sabbath after the service was over. It was their way of making me feel welcome and a part of God’s family. Church members were encouraged to befriend strangers or members they did not know well and open their homes to them.
I like this definition of hospitality: Hospitality is making room for people in need. Nothing is more rewarding than church members feeding the homeless through a program called Touch of love. Members would put together sandwiches and take to the homeless. Soup kitchens are open to the poor, down and out and hungry masses. During Thanksgiving and Christmastime, people can go to community centres where they can enjoy hot meals.
Hospitality for me is showing people the love of Christ who came and opened made room for people in need. As someone rightly said, Jesus went to where the people were.