What comes to mind when we think of hospitality? Is it inviting people into our home for a meal or church function? Is it inviting church members or a visiting preacher out for dinner? One definition says that “hospitality is about people welcoming other people into their homes.” It says that it is “all about the art of entertaining or receiving guests.”
While those are wonderful ways to spend time with people and be hospitable, if having company in our home or taking people out to eat is the totality of our hospitality, then we are too limited. Hospitality is by Biblical definition “a lover of strangers.” In the Bible, there are examples of hospitality shown to Christians, non-Christians, widows, orphans, missionaries, travelers, and the poor. As Christians, we should look for ways to “love strangers” by meeting their needs.
The Bible says:
- We should be “given to” and “pursuing” hospitality (Romans 12:13).
- We should do it to the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40).
- We should take a backseat and let our guests have the best (Luke 14:7-11).
- We should not only invite friends, but invite those less fortunate (Luke 14:12-14).
- We should not complain or grumble about it (1 Peter 4:9).
Here are a few ways that we can show hospitality:
- Provide funds, care packages, or Bible class materials to missionaries.
- Keep visitors in your home during lectureships or other events.
- Buy groceries for the church pantry or children’s home food drive.
- Provide funeral meals for families who are grieving a death.
- Make “Welcome Baskets” for a visiting preacher.
- Help new church members or neighbors who are moving into your community.
- Offer a bottle of water to delivery people who come to your home.
- Take holiday treats or gifts to a children’s home.
- Give food/hygiene supplies to the homeless.
- Host an event for those with special needs.
- Bake cookies or bread to deliver to your neighbors (and invite them to church).
At church services:
- Meet and talk with visitors who come to the assembly.
- Help visitors locate Bible classes for themselves and for their children.
- Invite visitors to a potluck or an upcoming activity.
- Create a clearly seen “Visitor’s Center” where guests can find information about your congregation.
- Make “quiet” bags for children who visit the assembly.
- Sit in the middle of the pew so visitors don’t have to walk over you (and if they sit in your spot, move elsewhere)!
While entertaining friends is great, let’s stretch ourselves to find ways we can show our love to “strangers.”