Be hospitable to each other without secretly wishing you hadn’t got to be! (JBP)
When we think of hospitality, we usually think in terms of having friends around for a meal, or for hosting a church function. Nothing at all wrong with that, but it is not what the Bible is talking about when it mentions hospitality.
In Scripture, it means the welcoming of strangers. A “hospitaller” was a person in medieval monasteries who was responsible for accommodating travellers and guests. Hospitality in early days was essential in the absence of things like motels and hotels. So no wonder the early Christians were urged to be hospitable.
Some Christians pride themselves on being hospitable when in fact they are simply being sociable. The test of how hospitable we are is how we welcome into our homes and friendship circles those who are visitors or strangers or newcomers. A church may proclaim how friendly it is, but it may only be saying the members cheerfully get along with each other. The deeper question is, how easy is it for a newcomer to join such a sociable circle?
And as our text reminds us, hospitality is not to be seen as a grudging duty. Some may find it easier than others, but all should make an attempt. We don’t need a home of our own, we just need a welcoming heart, a desire to help a visitor belong, to help a stranger become a friend.
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