This is not a subject that I had heard many times in sermons, but it is a Scriptural topic. In Hebrews 13:2, for example we are told that by showing hospitality, some have entertained angels unaware that they were angels. The 25th Chapter of I Samuel tells the unforgettable story of how Nabal refuses hospitality to David and how Nabal’s hospitable wife, Abigail, corrects the problem and later becomes David’s wife.
But what, exactly, is hospitality? In short, it is the art of making one’s home available to others in such a way that you make them feel welcome. One does not have to have a great deal of money to be hospitable. One does not have to live in a fine house. One does not have to be a great cook, or be able to afford a fine chef. No, all that is necessary is that you invite others and make them feel welcome.
What are some excuses people use to get out of being hospitable?
- I don’t have a fine home. My furnishings are old. My house is small. Proverbs 21:9 teaches us It is better to dwell in the corner of a housetop than with a contentious woman. If Solomon could say this, then surely a housetop corner is not too shabby a place to show hospitality.
- I can’t cook well. My food is not fancy enough. Proverbs 15:17 says Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. If Solomon could recommend a dinner of herbs, just a salad and a few vegetables, how can we refuse them to others? So what if Jane Doe is a better cook? Did it ever occur to you that she might like to be invited out, too?
- I am too busy. I don’t have an exact verse for this one, but I can assure yu that you should never be too busy to do the Lord’s work.
- I don’t know those people. Which people? Are they not your brothers and sisters in Christ? If you do not know your own brothers and sisters here, how do you expect to greet them in Heaven?
- They won’t come anyway. Oh, yeah? Well, how do you know? Have you invited them?
- I don’t want to be friends with anyone, and I don’t want them in my house. Okay, that is really the root of your problem, isn’t it? Do you mean to tell me that you have never had anyone over for a meal, or just for chips and dip, or for coffee and dessert? Or are you just really anti-social?
You see, there is no good excuse for not being hospitable. It is a talent that anyone can cultivate. As with any talent, some are better than others. Some people are just better at making others feel at home. However, anyone can learn. Start with those you know well, and move on to those you know less well.
Here is a challenge for you: Sometime within the next two weeks, invite someone to your house. Offer them some sort of refreshments, even just bought cookies and lemonmade. What you do isn’t that important.
Be gracious to them. Greet them with kindness, and find topics they are comfortable talking about. Treat them like a dear brother or sister, not like a stranger. Then, and this is important to me, please leave a comment and let me know how it goes.
What say ye?