One mark of a Christ-follower is showing hospitality. We follow in the example of Jesus when we show hospitality to all people. In the first century, hospitality was important because hotels and restaurants were not easily accessible. Additionally for the first century followers of Jesus, times of persecution made Christian hospitality vitally important. Followers of Jesus could find refuge at one another’s homes. The first churches even met in homes, which is one form of Christian hospitality.
9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. 10 Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. 13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13)
You need people to show you hospitality, and others need you to show them hospitality. God made us to exist in community. Whether it be a newcomer to your town, a friend from church, a neighbor, or anyone else, God calls us as Christ-followers to show hospitality to all people. Some cultures are bent more toward hospitality than others, but in any culture Christian hospitality is distinctive, authentic, and Christ-honoring. What does Christian hospitality look like in our world today?
Jesus was approachable. Men, women, rich, poor, kids, teenagers, religious leaders, and those far away from God knew that Jesus was approachable to them. He did not ignore them nor was he too busy for them. When people approached him, he was really interested in them. He welcomed them. He listened to them. He talked with them. He cared about them. They were important to him. He was approachable.
- Are you approachable?
Jesus was helpful. He regularly met the physical and spiritual needs of people. He showed people love, the kind of love that exists in strong families. He showed love perfectly. He was encouraging to others, always pointing them to follow God’s path for their lives. He was full of hope. Even during difficult times, he was helpful. This is one example of Christian hospitality. This can happen everywhere you go.
- Are you helpful to others?
Jesus shared. When Jesus was given a lunch of two fishes and five loaves, he miraculously turned this into a meal to feed more than 5000 people. Jesus gave his time to teach others, heal the sick, and bring salvation to the lost. All of this is true even though the Bible says that Jesus did not even have a permanent place to lay his head. The early followers of Jesus shared meals with one another, regularly spent time in one another’s homes, and shared of their resources to make sure that the real financial and physical needs of others were met. They truly had the mindset that they were stewards of God’s resources and because of this they were willing to give to others when legitimate needs existed. They shared with one another.
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers. 43 Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)
- Do you share with others?
PRAYER: Lord, help me to follow in the example of Jesus in every way. Let me be a person who shows true Christian hospitality. Through this hospitality, may I be used to help meet the needs of others and point people to Jesus. Let people see that Jesus is a loving, caring Savior who will save them and meet their every need. As I show hospitality to other believers, may we be mutually encouraged in our faith in Christ. As I show hospitality to unbelievers, may they be drawn to faith in Jesus and may they put their trust in him as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.