It's important that we understand the answer to this question, otherwise hospitality remains a foreign idea, or a cumbersome guilt trip. God has so much more in store for us when we become hospitable women!
Hospitality is not man's idea. It is God's idea for man's benefit.
As a Christian, I know that God's directives are for my best interest, but it's easy to try to rationalize my way out of those things that take me a bit out of my comfort zone. However, despite my pitiful "But, God..." whining, He's not gonna change His mind, and it's for my good.
1. God chose hospitality as a means of serving, bonding, assisting, comforting, and building relationships...with both guests and strangers.
* Jesus’ life is an example of both receiving and demonstrating hospitality. His ministrydepended on the hospitality that others extended to him, such as the meals at the
homes of Pharisees, at Lazarus’s home, and at the home of Mary and Martha. Mealswere also opportunities to demonstrate and discuss the heavenly banquet to which
God has invited us . . . and others whom we need to welcome at the table.
* The disciples depended on hospitality for their mission (Matt. 10).
* The early church grew as its members spread the good news while depending onhospitality extended by both believers and non-believers. Hospitality was a test to
determine the fitness of a person to serve in the office of deacon.
* Although some may have a special gift for hospitality, it is commanded of all
believers to show hospitality, which is a practical application of
agape (the Greek word for Christian love).
(*taken from nationalministries.org).
2. Hospitality strengthens love and reduces animosity between believers.
When people become consumed with their own lives and problems, they tend to become ingrown and self-centered. Not only do they spend less time fellowshipping with other believers, they find it easier to criticize and find fault with the very people they should be helping to lift up. Walls build, and divisions increase. Hospitality between believers is vital to healthy relationships and helps to open the conversation and allow for the Titus 2 principle, as well as accountability and encouragement.
When we walk into each other's homes and each other's lives, we tend to get a better grip on our common struggles, fears, and goals...and we have renewed appreciation for each other's journey.
3. Hospitality lifts the financial load of another.
In the days of McDonald's and Motel 6, Wendy's and Wingate, Culver's and Comfort Inn...you get the idea...we feel that people have multiple ways of taking care of themselves. If momma is sick and can't cook, daddy can surely run to the closest fast food restaurant and get some processed, fried food to feed the rest of the family. If someone has a house fire, they can sleep at Super 8 with their insurance money. If a Bible College group comes through, well hey, the church can buy them a bed and a continental breakfast at the Hampton Inn. Unfortunately, progress and convenience have aided us in missing out on a Biblical principle and the blessings that follow. There very well may be times that someone will refuse an offer of a bed or meal in our homes because they need more convenience or privacy, but one can never go wrong with a heartfelt offer and full intention of carrying the offer to completion.
4. Hospitality "helps" a messie.
Need some motivation to keep a tidy house? Have company once a week. Not your parents or your big sister (who totally get it that you're busy and don't have a spare second to clean), but people who you wouldn't want to greet with a mess. Maybe some would think that this would lead to bondage, and maybe it would if the hospitality were coming from impure motives, but I'm guessing it would help the whole family be more aware of clutter and dirt. And once it's clean, it's easier to maintain.
5. Hospitality is a huge, practical training ground for children.
Want selfish kids? Never ask them to share their toys or their food. Never make them sleep on the floor while a guest takes their room for a night...or two or three. Never make them consciously, tangibly give. Most of us don't want to be anywhere near that type of childrearing, but what are we doing to counteract that natural self-serving spirit?
6. Hospitality gets us out of ourselves.
We are all busy. Most of us think we are busier than our neighbors, busier than our friends, and busier than our enemies. A few days ago, I was asking a distant family member about an upcoming family event, and she looked at me firmly and said, "We won't be there. We are very busy." I can't convey the condescending tone that she used, but her non-verbals as well as her intonation indicated that her life was much more complicated than the those of the rest of the family, and rather than go into the whole "priority" thing, I just smiled and moved on with the conversation. Fact is, we make time for what is important to us. Sometimes we just become too wrapped up in our emotions and commitments to make ourselves available to serve others. That defeats God's purpose for us, and none of our excuses (as pious as they may seem to us) will be good enough to get us off the hook. If we are too busy to be hospitable, then we are too busy. Ouch. :-)
There are a boatload of answers to the question - Why Hospitality? However, I think these six give us enough reason to get started. Stay tuned for the next post in this topic...
Click here for another hospitable summer recipe!