“Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” – Hebrews 13:1,2
When I was a little girl I always looked forward to times of “hospitality.” That usually meant that we were having “company” over to our house for dinner! Maybe some family or friends were coming, or perhaps we invited a new family from church or a visiting missionary family. Regardless of who would show up on our doorstep, I enjoyed those special times because it meant people in our house, a yummy dinner AND dessert, and often some other children to play with! My sister and I eagerly helped my mother cook and clean in preparation for our guests. This is a good example of learning the character quality of hospitality.
Hospitality is cheerfully sharing food, shelter, and spiritual refreshment with those God brings into your life. Inviting others over to your home and happily providing for their comfort while they are your guests is a great place to start in learning hospitality. But remember that hospitality is not just sharing food and fellowship with your close friends and those that you naturally prefer to spend time with. It is looking around for those who perhaps may not be able to return the favor and have you over to their house. It’s inviting over someone who God wants you to minister to, whether or not you are naturally drawn to them or are close to them. Seek to show hospitality to needy people. Using hospitality can do a world of good in the life of a hurting individual.
Hospitality is also being sure that the surroundings are peaceful and harmonious for those we serve. We shouldn’t use hospitality as a way to impress others that we know how to cook well and throw a nice party. We should seek to please those who come over to our house, and not to draw attention to ourselves. One way that helps me to do this is by praying for our “company” as I clean my home, prepare food, and set the table. Ask God to use you to be a blessing to them while they are at your house. Be thinking of what their needs and struggles are, and ask God to meet them and help you to encourage them while they are with you. Make the dinner or party “all about them” rather than about yourself.
Remember that hospitality does not only have to take place in your home. You can show hospitality to others anywhere you go, like church, school, or the playground. Introducing yourself sweetly to a new girl in Sunday School and offering to sit next to her is showing hospitality. So is taking a meal to a shut-in or offering to babysit a new mother’s children. The Good Samaritan showed hospitality along the side of the road!
Maybe you and your mom can plan a special dinner to welcome someone into your home and to practice the art of hospitality! Here are some verses to study as you plan your special day:John 14:2,3
I Peter 4:10
There are many shining examples of hospitality in the Bible! Learn to cheerfully share what you have with others, and as you do, you will become all glorious within!