HOSPITALITY FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE
BY COMMON GROUND
To some of us, hospitality is a scary word. Visions of cleanings, cooking and other time consuming preparations loom over us like a storm cloud. We dread having to do all those preparations when we hardly have a to ourselves on any busy “normal day. So, we shy away from practicing hospitality, even though we are instructed to do so in Romans 12:13.
The bottom line of hospitality is making people feel at home in your presence. It’s showing Jesus’ love in tangible and intangible ways to others. But it will cost in more ways than just money. Your expenditure may be in listening to a broken-hearted friend. Being hospitable means focusing on the needs and interests of others rather than yourself. It may involve going that extra, inconvenient mile.
Good things come from our obedience in the area of hospitality. From a temporal perspective, the world around you will become a friendlier place to live. You will gain new friends and deepen relationships
already in place. You learn to hold your possessions with an “open hand” and not a “tight fist.” Things may break when you open your home to a family with kids. Remember that things are temporal, only God’s Word and people are eternal. People are most important.
The potential eternal benefits of hospitality are even greater. By sharing yourself, your home, your possessions and your food, you may find an open door to share the Savior with your friend. Whether your friend trusts Christ or not, it’s exciting to realize you’ve been part of the process of helping your friend be lovingly confronted with Jesus. Your home sets the stage so the Holy Spirit has a friendly
environment to touch your friend’s heart.
The bottom line of hospitality is making people feel at home in your presence.
Hospitality stands at the door of your home and says to the guest, “Come in, how can I make you feel at home? Would you like something to eat or drink? Please, come sit, let’s talk awhile. I will listen. I have time for you, you are important to me and my God.” In contrast, pure entertaining stands at the door and says to the guest, “Come in, please notice my immaculate house, my extraordinary furnishings, my
fabulous food, and my perfect children! Aren’t you impressed?” Which house you would prefer to enter? Make the atmosphere and attitude in your home like a magnet, so that all who enter are drawn, not only to you, but to your Savior as well.
Common Ground Ideas
Okay, you’re convinced that hospitality is important, but you haven’t done much of it as a means of outreach. A few suggestions might help get you on your way.
� Don’t get in a dither about your house if it’s not immaculate all the time. Friends come to see you, not your house.
� Release your possessions to God’s care. If things break, they break. Replace, repair, or forget about it. You can’t take it to heaven.
� Accept people as they are Without expecting repayment or reward for every good deed done.
� Hospitality is done in love without complaining. Obligatory hospitality is not hospitality at all.
� Hospitality includes ‘being there’ not just ‘doing for’ the other person.
� Hospitality is done without excuses such as, ‘My house isn’t nice enough, or big enough’ or the like.
� Hospitality is not a one-time event. It’s a way of life.
� Hospitality allows the seeker to have a front row seat to see God’s love in action through you in your home.
� Hospitality does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, religion, wealth or the lock of it.
� Invite friends back to your home for pizza after a day at the pool.
� Have an old-fashioned ice cream sundae social With a new twist-just buy the ice cream. Ask each guest or couple to bring a different topping.
� Spontaneously invite someone over to sip cool lemonade or iced tea on a worm summer’s eve. Ask questions. Listen to the answers. Get to know your guests
� Offer to help (cook, take food, bring ice, or soda) when you’re invited to someone else’s home.
� Take a bike ride with a small group and return to your place for snacks, cold drinks, et(.
Recommended Reading on Hospitality
A very practical and helpful book on hospitality is The Personal Touch: Encouraging Others through Hospitality by Rachael Crabb with Raeann Hart, NavPress, 1990. Rachael is the wife of well-known Christian psychologist, Larry Crabb. The book is full of helpful ideas and tips on hospitality.
Another helpful book, if you can find it, is the now out-of-print, Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Burton Mains, David C. Cook Publishing Co.,expanded edition, 1991.
Think About It
“Its hard for people really to believe we want them in Heaven if we don’t want them in our living room.” – Ralph W Neighbour, Jr.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY COMMON GROUND, JULY 1995, VOL.13, NO. 7.
THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.