Are you aware that “Hospitality” is a spiritual gift? Modern society and families have become so preoccupied with their home (cleaning, repairs, maintenance, decorating), gardens (establishing, reviving, planting and cleaning), work (working extra-long hours), children’s schooling (overloaded homework, extra mural activities, peer pressure), extended family and friends (visits, meals) and amongst other matters, giving attention and time to Church and Social events at the expense of budgeting time to practice the Spiritual Gift of “Hospitality”.
You might say that you don’t have this gift, and my response will be that perhaps you don’t, but everyone who is born again has “hospitality” as a support gift within their spiritual gift mix. Acts chapter 9 ends with this verse:
Ac 9:43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.
Simon the tanner offered Peter hospitality because he was a disciple and because he loved God’s people enough to practice the gift of hospitality.
1) Practice hospitality. Consider:
Ro 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Paul is applying his doctrinal thesis presented in the main body of the Book of Romans. Look how he gets to those two words … “Practice hospitality.”
(1) Sincere love – v9. The backbone of true love is hating everything evil yet holding to everything good. Often people feel intentional Christianity judges them. No! We hate sin, even our own but we love people.
(2) Devoted in brotherly love – v10. Loving the Body of Christ needs to be demonstrative and to be demonstrative it needs to arise from the heart. Devoted means committed. You love the Lord’s people so much that you devote or commit yourself to them.
(3) Love honors the Body of Christ – v10. Followers of Jesus don’t push themselves forward or present themselves as better than others. Loving others sees the best in them and respects them for whom they are in Jesus.
(4) Love serves the Lord – v11. Love demonstrates service and when serving the Body we are serving the Lord.
(5) Love is faith in action, covered in prayer – v12. True love is expressed before the Father in prayer for His people.
(6) Love is sharing with those in the Lord who are in need– v13. Our first responsibility is the Lord’s people, not the world. Those in the world have far more resources available to them, in a worldly way, than those within the Kingdom of God.
(7) Summed up … Love is … practicing hospitality – v13! Those two words—”practice hospitality”—come across as a command because God wants His people to demonstrate their love for each other in practical and tangible ways.
2) Sacrificial hospitality.
1 Pet 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
Verse 8 reminds us that we are all sinners and loving each other means we pray for each other without condemning each other because of our sin. Because of this, as we serve others with what they lack, we do not groan and moan and complain. Love giving willingly without counting the cost because love knows God owns everything and provides the needs of His people. I love verse 10 here! God gives us both spiritual gifts as well as material gifts to be used to bless, help and support His people. One of the greatest aspects of the Christian religion is that we all belong to God and each other. There is therefore no room for us being selfish! Look at this passage:
Phil 2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
Verses 1 and 2 culminate in verses 3 and 4. We need to be sacrificial in hospitality because Jesus (v5) was sacrificial in His death for our salvation. Far too often our problem is that we are so fixated about this earth and what we have here that we forget we are just passing through! We don’t belong here. We belong in God’s paradise. Whilst we are here God provides us with resources to be used for our keep and to help those within His Kingdom who struggle. The problem is that we tend to feel what God gives us is ours and not for the benefit of others. Google and read the song “Make me a channel of your peace.” Although attributed to St Francis of Assisi, the author is unknown. The words ring loudly of sacrifice. Here’s a thought for us … from James. He writes:
Jas 4:2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Are we selfish because we use what we have for our pleasure neglecting others? Surely if we have needs after helping others, we need to ask God to meet our needs … or do we not ask or if we do is it for sinful reasons?
3) Partnership hospitality. The cause we serve is a common one. No Christian serves his or her cause and a local Church or Church grouping should not be serving their cause. Together we need to serve Jesus. Together our focus must be Kingdom Growth and trust that God will give the local Church growth.
3Jn 1:5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.
To support, help and express hospitality we do not need to know each Gospel worker personally. All we need to know is what they believe. This could be obtained rather easily. Paul writes of letters of introduction and recommendation.
1 Cor 16:3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.
2Co 3:1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you?
Lord, help us to practice hospitality and to do so in love and with sacrificial hearts. Amen.