Read Romans 12:13
13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. (NLT)
When we think of ‘hospitality’, we think of arranging dinner parties for friends, or having BBQs for neighbours. Nothing at all wrong with that, except that it is not what the Bible calls hospitality. In the Scriptures, it is to do with the welcoming of strangers. The test of your hospitality is not how you open your homes to friends, but how you open your lives to those who you don’t yet know.
When I am offered true biblical hospitality, I am treated respectfully as an individual in my own right. It is more than being offered food or lodgings, though that may be involved. I am welcomed for who I am, not being controlled or pressured to become dependent on my host.
Our dispositions, our capacity to listen, our sensitivity to others, our discernment of others’ needs, are all components of hospitality. The writer Henri Nouwen puts it well: “Strangers can discover their freedom, free to sing their own songs, dance their own dances, free to stay and free to leave, free to follow their own vocations.”
Hospitality, then, does not require a home of bricks and mortar. It is an attitude of heart and mind that is on the lookout for the visitor, the outsider, the stranger. It offers the opportunity for that person to discover more of his or her true self, to find God’s purposes for them, to value their uniqueness under their Creator. Hospitable people don’t suffocate or control or pass judgement. They rather provide a safe space for people to be who they are in God.