In Matthew 22, Jesus is clear that we are to love God, our neighbor, and ourselves. In John 13:34-35 (CSB), Jesus says, “everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” And so it should not be surprising that hospitality is an expectation Jesus has for His people.
What is Biblical Hospitality?
The Greek word used in the New Testament is philoxenia. It is about being a friend to a stranger. I experienced that kind of hospitality in Israel when my touring group was invited into a Beduoin tent. We were welcomed and fed while their lifestyle and ways were patiently explained to us.
But hospitality is also to be a common practice for Christians. Paul writes:
Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality.Romans 12:13 (CSB)
I find it fascinating only seven verses later, Paul writes:
But If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.Romans 12:20 (CSB)
Apparently hospitality is to be practiced even with our enemies. Wow! Consider this, how will our enemies and those who do not know Jesus come to know Him if we never show them the difference He has made in our lives?
Practicing What Jesus Taught
The pandemic caused many of us to cocoon. We stopped inviting people to our homes, out to eat, and to our classes and churches. While food is not required, it is natural to extend and receive hospitality over food.
What are some natural ways that your group can practice hospitality and kindness? How can your group express love and friendship toward strangers? Consider some of the following ideas:
- take time to listen to FRANs (friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors),
- seek opportunity to eat with and spend time with FRANs (at work, school, play, and/or the marketplace),
- when needs are mentioned, pray with the FRAN,
- if possible, address discovered needs personally or as a group,
- when affinities (liking the same things) are expressed, connect FRANs with others sharing those affinities,
- invite FRANs to your fellowships, projects, meals, and group sessions,
- look for opportunities to share Jesus.
The bottom line is to be a friend. But instead of only being reactive, seek out opportunities to live and love them like Jesus. Make disciples. Be revolutionary! And keep in mind this verse:
Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it.Hebrews 13:2 (CSB)