Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Talk About It Tuesday - Practicing Hospitality

Practicing Hospitality - Chapter Two: Hospitality & Strangers

I am continuing my discussion of the book Practicing Hospitality: The Joy of Serving Others, by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock. If you do not have a copy of the book you can read online here. I think you are limited to reading 30 pages in a 24-hour time period.

Today I am reviewing Chapter Two: Hospitality & Strangers. The base scripture for this chapter is Hebrews 13:2:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Paul urges the Romans in chapter 12 of his letter to them to pursue hospitality. He explains believers should live in a way pleasing toward God because of God’s grace and mercy. Paul considers this a no-brainer. We should demonstrate our love for one another in a practical way. This is hospitality.

I have the tendency to confuse hospitality with entertainment. I must remember that entertainment focuses on appearances. Biblical hospitality is demonstration of love. By practicing hospitality we show our love for God.

We should practice hospitality with a willing heart and with a good attitude. Grumbling and complaining lessens the act to that of a sin. If we are cheerful when we give, we do not mind the sacrifices, if any, and it is pleasing to God. (II Corinthians 9:7) If we practice hospitality as a form of giving, we lose all expectations of receiving anything in return.

As Christians, we should extend hospitality with a willing spirit, with a joyful heart, and with an enthusiastic attitude. We must not save acts of hospitality for emergencies, holidays or special needs. Because we love people, hospitality should be practiced daily, and we should look for opportunities to do so.

Hospitality should be extended to strangers as well as friends and relatives. “Strangers” could include other believers, widows and orphans, unbelievers, the poor and needy, missionaries or Christian workers, or foreigners.

The way we practice hospitality varies according to the individual’s need. We should focus on those needs. If someone needs food, we feed them. If they need shelter, we provide a place of rest. If someone needs a shoulder to cry on, we listen and encourage based on God’s Word.

Our character is defined by how hospitable we are. God’s love, mercy and compassion toward needy people is modeled by our hospitality. In this way we show that we (1) love God and (2) love others. (Mark 12:29-31)

Old Testament hospitality was practiced far different than what we think of today. According to the customs then, hospitality was extended to not only friends and family, but also to strangers and sometimes enemies. If someone was in need when he approached the home of another, the host would accommodate that need with whatever he had in his possession. Wow. It was a cultural and religious duty that was offered with friendship.

By practicing hospitality we are demonstrating in a practical way our love for God and others. To be successful we must understand the Biblical definition of hospitality. (Hebrews 12:1-2) When we do this, we are not simply “Christian event planners.” Our plan has a Godly purpose, and vice versa. It is a reflection of God’s nature.

After reading this week's chapter and learning the Biblical definition of hospiality, I realize I practice hospitality more often than I originally thought. I now know that it is simply the same as showing love for others with my actions.

Next week is Chapter Three: Hospitality & Family.

Daily Bible Reading Plan

II Samuel 1-2; Psalm 107; Mark 13:32-37; II Corinthians 11:16-33

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting His Daily Mercies. I appreciate your comments.