Christian Hospitality

On a recent trip to Colorado, I was able to worship with the Pikes Peak church in Colorado Springs. We were so warmly received that Donna and I couldn’t help but think about Christian hospitality.

I still have fond memories from my preschool years of being welcomed and made to feel like family at the East Main Street church of Christ in Murfreesboro, TN. As we traveled, my family and I have been treated the same at many churches all over the country from coast to coast.

In the Old Testament God expected the Jews to be hospitable to fellow Israelites, strangers, and sojourners who journeyed in their lands (Lev. 19:33-34; Gen. 18:4,5; 19:2; 24:32; 43:24; Judges 19:20,21; 1 Sam. 25:41; et al.).

Hospitality has been defined in many ways, but I think we all know it when we see it or practice it. A summary of those definitions would be something like kindly disposed, generous, benevolent, and cordial toward strangers, outsiders, and sojourners, especially those outside of your normal circle of friends. In the Greek a literal meaning is “love of strangers”.

As Christians we are commanded to be hospitable. Gregg had a recent article on treating those who visit with great love, welcome, and kindness. This is critical as your interaction may be the only interaction someone may have with the church. Will they feel like this is a safe welcoming place for them or will they be steered away from the church and salvation?

Within the church we are to be hospitable one to another as well:

“So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:10, NASB).

Romans 12:10-13 states the following:

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;”…

“…contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”

In I Peter 4:9 we read: “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.”

Oh no! I can’t even complain about it! Let’s all work on making this something that is a part of our very nature and that we even like doing it so that we would not even think of complaining about it. Who knows? Maybe 50 plus years from now someone may remember your kindness and love toward them and are thankful for it. The fruit you bear may just be a faithful, saved Christian.

For the elders, Gary Woodall