The Heart of Hospitality

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. (Romans 12:11-13, The Message) (Italics Mine)

What do you think of when someone says the word “hospitality,” especially during the holiday season? Something everyone else does perfectly? You can do it as long as it doesn’t involve family? Stressful?

Many people groan at the idea of hosting family or friends during the Christmas season. I’m not any different. Honestly, I prefer to avoid the anxiety that comes with hosting people. I dread all the cleaning before guests arrive and after they leave. Seriously, I come up with every excuse just like everyone else. I’m not in the mood for a party. I don’t have time to plan. How come we’re always the ones who host people? When is someone going to invite us for a change?

For most of us, when we think of hospitality we look at our boards on Pinterest. We see clean homes, perfectly set tables and amazing recipes. We look at all of the pictures and we tell ourselves, “We can never do that!”

The Bible looks at hospitality differently. Hospitality in Scripture means inviting people into our space — opening the doors of our homes to invite them into our lives and hearts. Think of Jesus’ ministry. During His life, hospitality provided a place for Him to teach, to rest and relax. During the early church, Christians opened their homes to provide a meeting place for worship and teaching. Scripture encourages hospitality for meeting the needs of the lost and hurting, demonstrating to them the love of Christ.

If we focus on the details of hospitality we miss the real purpose behind it. In fact, when we only see those details, we might miss the heart of hospitality altogether. If we focus on the condition of our homes, we miss sharing the truth that life is messy. If we stress about how people will fit into our home, we miss the opportunity to make room in our lives for others. If we worry about providing the perfect meal to serve, we miss the fellowship that comes with dining with friends and family.

Through hospitality, we share the love of Christ with others. God calls us to practice hospitality, whether it comes easy or not.  It’s an act of obedience to our Savior who made it possible to for us to have fellowship with our heavenly Father.

How are you responding to hosting family and friends during this Christmas season? What can you do today to focus on the heart of hospitality? God wants us to love one another because He first loved us. If you’re in the midst of hosting, planning or getting ready for people to come over, take heart! So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!” (Psalm 31:24, NLT) (Italics Mine). ~Raquel


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