Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “Fish and visitors smell in three days.” He must have had some trying guests underfoot! Erwin W. Lutzer wrote:
"Hospitality is a test for godliness because those who are selfish do not like strangers (especially needy ones) to intrude upon their private lives. They prefer their own friends who share their life-style. Only the humble have the necessary resources to give of themselves to those who could never give of themselves in return."
Hebrews 13:2—Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it. (NLT)
Imagine encountering someone you don’t know, a person in need. In kindness you reach out and minister whether by word, providing food, giving shelter or lending monetary assistance. You give with no concern for repayment. What if you were being tested by God? I’d hate to find out I was with an angel and behaved like a devil.
Hospitality is the ability to serve strangers or friends for the purpose of honoring God by sharing loving acts of kindness. It can be as much a one-time action as a long-extended practice. Professor Joe Aldrich loved to teach his students, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” In a land that deifies selfishness, hospitality gives its last glass of water to a hot, weary traveler. In a society that perfects privatization hospitality has the faith to be vulnerable to serve anyone for Jesus.
If your church is not growing, run a hospitality diagnostic check. Are you welcoming visitors? I don’t mean the official handshake from an assigned greeter. Who is making the time to find out as much as possible about the newcomers and then offering every courtesy to make them feel welcome—included?
I grew up in a family where people constantly lived in our home. I am better today because of what I learned from men and women who shared our roof. It wasn’t always convenient. Sacrifices were involved, personalities didn’t always mesh. But I learned watching my parents, that investing in the lives of people on a daily basis is profoundly rewarding. I see my sister and brother-in-law frequently open their home to neighbors. They have the vision. It’s exciting to see them in action.
It’s not easy to be hospitable. Perhaps you’re tired. Take heart friend! Your caring spirit blesses in ways you’ll never know. Refresh yourself in the Master. Keep your eyes on Him. The Jesus Who washed His disciples’ feet wants to work through our hands to bless those hungry to know His love. Something to think about . . . in reveration.
Hospitality is one form of worship.—Jewish Proverb
When there is room in the heart there is room in the house.—Danish Proverb
Some churches train their greeters and ushers to smile, showing as many teeth as possible. But I can sense that kind of display-and when I am greeted by a man who is smiling because he has been trained to smile, I know I am shaking the flipper of a trained seal.—A. W. Tozer
©2002 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)