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A 2-part series – Part 2

Hospitality and Teachings in Scripture

The teachings in the Bible are not randomly placed there; they are intricately connected to hospitality on varying different topics.

  • Teachings on love – without love we cannot show hospitality. If you hate your brother or sister (no matter their race, class, age or sex) YOU are in darkness.
  • Teachings on forgiveness – without forgiveness, hospitality is impossible to maintain.
  • Teachings on sin – sin prevents hospitality as light cannot have fellowship with darkness.
  • Teachings on Faith – Faith builds our capacity to show hospitality. We need to trust God to bless us so that we can love others and be a blessing to them.
  • Teachings on generosity – Every act of generosity whether supernatural healing or through feeding the hungry is an act of hospitality.
  • Teachings on Humility – This is linked inextricably to hospitality because it requires a servants heart to be hospitable.
  • Teachings of Kindness and Gentleness, and many others are important to the promotion of a healthy and extraordinary hospitality experience.

  

The Lost Art of Hospitality is An Enormous Loss In Blessings

“I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 NLT

Too many people immediately assume that scriptures such as this one mentioned in Acts 20 as referring to money or wealth.  This is a false understanding of the Kingdom. In the context of hospitality “giving” refers to the giving of hospitality. Receiving refers to the receiving of hospitality. The most effective way we learn about God’s Kingdom is for us to show hospitality to all men and women.

As mentioned extensively, godly hospitality carries a weight of blessing that we cannot fully comprehend at times.

Jesus explains to His disciples concerning hospitality in Matthew 10:11-15 NLT:

 “Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. When you enter the home, give it your blessing. If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day”.

When Christian’s neglect the Biblical imperative to show love through hospitality; we risk losing out with the Lord in so many different ways. Our greatest risk is the curse that comes because we neglect godly hospitality on life's journey. “Curse” sounds harsh, but the words of Jesus are very plain about what happens when we fail to show godly hospitality.  This curse is far worse than just someone shaking the dust off their feet from us.

In Matthew 25:31-46, we read of the judgement of Jesus Christ between the “Sheep” and the “goats”. Both sheep and goats share similar diets, and some may look similar and even sound similar but both behave differently and are valued differently by farmers. Likewise, we have many people who identify as Christians but Jesus will determine who are His by those who show love and godly hospitality (the sheep) and which of those show little or no love and hospitality (the goats).

The sheep are blessed by the Lord because they show godly hospitality and in turn, are shown divine hospitality in the Father’s house.

The goats ARE CURSED and are condemned to hell because they refused to show the hospitality of the Lord.

The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not just the immorality of the city’s inhabitants, but a blatant disregard for strangers (Genesis 19:1-29) and inhospitality from their citizens. Unlike Abraham who showed hospitality to the Angels that visited Him; the men of Sodom and Gomorrah wanted to rape the Angels of God. The Lord destroyed them utterly.

As in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, so will the days be when the Lord returns. Love for the strangers (foreigners), love for enemies and love for brothers & sisters are diminishing as hospitality towards them diminishes. It will not be long before our world is indistinguishable from the Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah – and according to Jesus, we will be worse off than those two cities.

Restoring Hospitality

Paul the Apostle commended many people in the various households of Faith in scripture for the hospitality and loving nurture of believers. There were also times where Paul had to remind the Churches in various areas to receive various brethren with love and hospitality. Hospitality is not a natural thing for people, especially in a world where people are becoming more hostile towards one another than ever before. What can we do to develop a Kingdom culture of godly hospitality?

Let’s refer to the Apostle Paul’s teaching of giving (from the standpoint of hospitality) in 2 Corinthians 9: 6 – 15 NLT which says:

“Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully (Proverbs 22:8)” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” (Psalm 112:9) For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words”.

This is the golden rule – a universal law of God – what you sow, you shall reap. If we sow hospitality on earth, we reap God’s hospitality in His home. God loves those who give with a cheerful heart in godly hospitality. He will also provide everything you need to sustain a godly lifestyle of hospitality. We have heard many testimonies of this. Believers who could not afford to provide meals for strangers, through the provision of our heavenly Father, were able to put on a spread fit for a king.  We need to encourage each other to live in a way that promotes godly hospitality. Hebrews 10:24-25 says:

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

Let us not neglect meeting together – because this is how we can practically show one another love and hospitality. Hospitality is contagious and when we get to see the blessings it invokes on our fellow brothers and sisters, we will want to carry out godly hospitality towards others as well.

There is an old saying that “Charity begins at home”. This is a great place to exercise godly hospitality and an excellent way to grow in Christian ministry.  Learn to show godly hospitality from home. Show it to the strangers, the foreigners, the sinners, the saints, the rejected and the social outcasts. This is what Jesus did to make His Kingdom accessible to the lost and spiritually disenfranchised. This is a serious matter, may we regard what we read in the scriptures in the context of godly hospitality as a “life and death matter”.


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LIVE & LEARN: The Gift of Hospitality – Part 2

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