Hospitality gives evidence of a sacrificed life
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Romans 12:1
“Living sacrifice”…how is that possible? All sacrifices to God die, don’t they? Bulls, rams, goats, even turtle doves given as sacrifices to God…were killed. Jesus gave Himself up for us as a sacrifice to God when He died on the cross (Eph 5:2). If we are to be “living sacrifices” we need to die…we need to die to self and live for God. Pursuing hospitality is dying to the selfish way I view my house…my cooking…my time…my money and living for God by loving, sharing meals, and listening to the people God has placed in my life.
Hospitality isn’t just another “diffficut” command. Hospitality comes out of a life that is fully surrendered to God.
Hospitality is opportunity to use our spiritual gifts
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly… Romans 12:6
What is your spiritual gift? Is it mercy or service? Invite them in, share a meal and listen.
Is it teaching or evangelism? Regularly invite people for dinner who are interested in learning more about God and His word.
The Son of Man came to serve and give His life (Mark 10:45). He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). The Son of Man came eating and drinking (Luke 7:34).
Hospitality is not showing off our nice homes, fine cooking, and sparkling conversation skills. Hospitality is inviting people in, sharing meals and having conversations that can change lives.
Hospitality shows the genuineness of our love
Let love be genuine. Romans 12:9
What does genuine Christian love look like? Is it seen in our love and honor for one another? Or the diligent, fervent way we serve the Lord? Would one who loves genuinely rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer? Contribute to the needs of the saints? Yes…yes…of course. Yet the final command listed in Romans 12 is…seek to show hospitality. Whoa…what?? Can’t I love without inviting people in my home? Yes, of course you can. But how can we say we genuinely love people and God for that matter, if we are not willing to seek (literally pursue) hospitality? My study on hospitality has shown me how selfish I am… It has challenged me to ask myself…do I really love my neighbor or God…genuinely? Unfortunately the answer too often is no.
Lydia sought to show hospitality
In Acts 16, we find Paul and his companions in Philippi, on the Sabbath, looking for a place of prayer. They found women assembled by the river. Lydia, a gentile woman was among the Jewish women there. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message (Acts 16:14)…then what did she do? Say thank you Paul and go on her way? NO she prevailed upon (urge strongly…to persuade) Paul and his companions to come to her house and stay. Maybe it was because she saw the needs of Paul and his companions and sought to meet them. OR maybe she realized that her home and possessions — were resources to used by God. This was not one time event. Later, when Paul and Silas, who had been imprisoned, were released they went again to Lydia’s house and meet with the believers there, before they left the city.
Lydia’s example of hospitality gives us some questions to ponder…
How ready and willing am I to share my home…my time?
Will I be open-hearted and generous or closed and tight-fisted?
Do I see my home as mine or the Lord’s to be used for his purposes?