Read Romans 12:13
13 When God’s people are in need,be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. (NLT)
In our day,we see hospitality as all about inviting our friends to dinner,of putting on a good spread,of being cheerfully welcoming people. That may be part of hospitality,but the biblical meaning was a little broader. It primarily meant welcoming strangers. Throwing a party for friends is perfectly OK,but it isn’t biblical hospitality. The test of how hospitable we are is how inclined we are to welcome strangers and visitors to our circle of community.
Some churches pride themselves on how friendly they are. But is that friendliness merely being sociable to those already members? How well do we welcome newcomers or strangers? Is our circle of friendship so ‘tight’ that we don’t make room for the ‘outsider’?
We might be warmly welcoming of those we know but give the ‘cold shoulder’ to those we don’t know or don’t like. That phrase derived from the practice of offering a cold shoulder of leftover mutton to a guest who was not really welcomed. It was a grudging piece of hospitality.
Our God never gives us the cold shoulder. He welcomes us when we come to him the first time or come back for the hundred-and-first time. No cold shoulders,just open arms.