Running the Race: Practising Hospitality – Hope 103.2

Running the Race: Practising Hospitality

Today we’re going to talk about a very practical thing. Hospitality. How to look after others, or has the word kind of been blurred by society? What’s your thoughts on this? Sam Robinson chats with Mal Gill lecturer at Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC).Well, the Bible says share with those in need and practice […]

By Sam RobinsonFriday 22 Jul 2016FRESHChristian LivingReading Time: 5 minutes

Today we’re going to talk about a very practical thing. Hospitality. How to look after others, or has the word kind of been blurred by society? What’s your thoughts on this? Sam Robinson chats with Mal Gill lecturer at Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC).

Well, the Bible says share with those in need and practice hospitality. So it would be good to work out what hospitality means.

It’s funny, in the Bible, hospitality, even the word comes from this term which means the love of the stranger, or the love of the foreigner. And it’s a rich Old Testament word. And it’s fascinating when I think of hospitality nowadays; We’re going to invite somebody over for dinner. So we’ll put it on the calendar six months in advance, we’ll make sure the house is all clean, the children have brushed their teeth and are well behaved.

And that’s what you think of with hospitality.

It is.

You think it’s having someone around for dinner. But I guess there’s more to it than that.

There’s a whole lot more to it than that. So if you were to go back in the Old Testament, the idea of hospitality, comes this idea of sharing with those who are in need, and sharing with those who are vulnerable.

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For example in the Book of Exodus, God tells His people Israel, He gives them a command about hospitality, and He bases it on this. He says, “Don’t mistreat or oppress a foreigner for you were foreigners in Israel.” So He reminds the people, “Listen, once upon a time, you were the outsider, and somebody was warm and welcoming to you. So likewise, love your neighbour. You know, show that same hospitality.”

And the reality is that God is hospitable to us. There’s lots of great images throughout the Bible. One of our favourite, Psalm 23, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemy. My cup overflows.” This is an excellent picture of God welcoming us and showing us hospitality. Now that’s a great metaphor, but it’s not just a symbol. Actually in the New Testament, hospitality involves sharing your lives with others. And that’s a helpful thing for us to think about.

So for example in Acts, the early practice of the Christians, it says in Acts 4, “All the believers were in one heart and one mind. No one claimed any of their possessions to be their own, but they shared everything they had.” That’s hospitality. It’s sharing with those in need. Now I’d say not just people in the church, but people outside of the church as well. But it’s the idea of demonstrating what God is like through giving of yourself and giving something that belongs to you, to others.

You just read that verse that says share with everyone in need. We don’t do that, do we? We’ve got a lot of possessions in our houses that we don’t share. Why is that the case?

I think by nature we’re greedy. At least, I know. I’ve mentioned before my son loves Lego. And he gets Lego, and other mates come over, and they want to handle his Millennium Falcon Lego, and he always gets a bit nervous. And I get a bit nervous. And I’m thinking, “Why am I getting nervous?” And it’s because my natural disposition is to want to hold things to myself. But again, that doesn’t reflect what God is like. God is very gracious. In fact, He gave us His Son, the Lord Jesus, freely. And that’s because He’s a hospitable God.

And in fact, I think it’s really interesting. When you get pictures of the coming kingdom, what heaven is like, it’s like into a banquet. And Jesus even says when he’s talking about this; he tells a parable, and he says, “If you give a lunch or dinner, don’t just invite your friends, or they’ll invite you back. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the cripple, the lame, the blind and then you’ll be blessed.”

And this is what heaven is like. We are invited to God’s table. And in fact Jesus at the Last Supper, we call it the Last Supper, he has a meal with his friends. And he invites his friends to be at the table. And I think that’s just a representative of a hospitable God. So what does that look like for you, Sam? How do you practice hospitality?

Well, that’s what I was going to ask you, Mal, because I think, you know, as I mentioned before, we often think of hospitality as just having people around for a meal. And I think, you know, my wife and I we do that as well, but I believe we should be pushing ourselves to do more than that. And even just maybe see the money that we have and consider how better to share that. Is that the kind of stuff we should think through?

I believe that’s exactly right. We want to share what we’ve got with others. So that can be something as practical as sharing clothes. So I know that there are different ministries where we give gifts to those who are in need, whether abroad or locally. I also think it’s one of those things whether it’s at church or work, sometimes just inviting somebody for a meal, and not having the house prepared.

It’s one of the things that we often do. We might say after church on a Sunday if somebody is new, just visiting, sometimes we’ll welcome them into our home or sometimes we’ll say, “Hey, can we take you out for lunch?” And we’ll just do that impromptu. Why? Because God’s given to us, why should we just hold onto it? We want to share that with others. So it’s about sharing your need. I think we can be as creative as we like with that.

Fantastic. Well, it’s the weekend, it’s a good time to be hospitable, and maybe we’ve just kind of given you a new perspective on the whole thing.


Each Sunday, FRESH presenter Sam Robinson chats with Malcolm Gill, lecturer at Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC), about different aspects of living the Christian life—or ‘running the race’. Hear them on air Sundays at 6.20am and 9.20am, or on FRESH just after 9pm each Saturday.