“The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love having a houseful of people. I’ve learned that hospitality has very little to do with how clean your house is, how well-decorated, or even how big it is. It has much more to do with how open your door is, how open your arms are, and how open your heart is.
The Bible exhorts us to show hospitality – but, to whom?
“Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” ~Romans 12:13
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” ~1 Peter 4:9
“We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.” ~3 John 1:8
In that first verse, the word for hospitality is the Greek word “philoxenia”, which means “entertainment of strangers”. In the context of the verse, Paul is talking about the body of Christ.
In the second verse, the word for hospitality is the Greek word “philoxenos” – simply meaning “hospitable”. In the context, he’s exhorting believers to love each other deeply, and love covering sin. He’s speaking of extending grace to our fellow Christians.
In the final verse, the word is “hypolambano”, meaning “to take up; to show hospitality; to reply; to suppose, think, or believe”. I think the context of this verse is shown 2 verses previously:
“Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you.” vs.5
I think it’s pretty clear that the Lord wants us to show kindness and hospitality to our fellow believers in Christ above anyone else. Whether we know them or not. Our homes should be their homes. No matter what.
Allowing for personality differences, our level of hospitality should reach just beyond our comfort level. My comfort level is pretty high in this area – but already I see an area where I need to grow. I need to reach out to more than just my friends. I need to reach out to the people I don’t yet know.
If my house is a welcoming, open place for anyone – and I mean anyone – to come, then my house is richly decorated! Despite the unmopped floor, the laundry piles in the hallway, and the toys waiting to be stepped on, my home is tastefully and artfully decorated in the style of fellowship.
One note on the third verse I shared – one of the meanings of hospitality struck me. “Reply”. Hm. I think this means God wants us to return phone calls, emails, and other correspondance! Don’t leave people hanging!
Boy, this post was rambling. But, my thoughts were too. I can’t organize them today. Ain’t happening. Oh well…I hope you were blessed!