Why God Cares About Christian Hospitality:
Do a quick search on Pinterest for Christian hospitality and most of what you will see is dinner party ideas and cute tips to make sure your overnight guests feel welcome and have their needs met.
These things are good and right and we talk about a lot of those ideas here but they are not the reason God cares about Christian hospitality.
It is good to treat our guests with incredible favor. It is good to use our God-given creativity to meet their needs. It is good to love well the people God has placed around us and pour our hearts out in service of them.
But it is also good to open the door when you are frazzled and tired and the guests who come are unexpected or they come at a bad time.
It is good to welcome without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9) even if your home doesn’t feel like a bed and breakfast.
God cares about hospitality, not because His primary concern is how cute your house looks on a constant basis, but because He cares about people.
Christian hospitality reflects the character of God.
Christian hospitality is a weapon of war.
Christian hospitality is how we build real community.
My Story of Grumbling over Christian Hospitality
It was a cold December day and I was much busier than usual. Not only was it two weeks before Christmas but it was also nearing the end of the Bible study I was leading and I had a lot to do to prepare.
I was expecting my husband to be home already so, when the phone rang, I was already a little upset. He said he was on his way but it would be about 20 minutes because he was picking up one of the college students from church to come do laundry.
I was instantly annoyed and my shortened responses let my husband know exactly that.
He was confused – free meals and free laundry are a normal part of our ministry to college students.
But on this day, I was too busy.
Our laundry room was “Christmas central” with wrapping paper and presents strewn everywhere.
I didn’t want anyone to see it that way so I immediately started rushing through the room hiding everything in random places.
When my husband walked in, I brushed past him, on my way to Bible study… still fuming.
I settled the Bible study room at church and then sat down to collect my thoughts and go over the Text one last time before the ladies came in.
I opened our passage for the week, feeling pretty confident.
Then I read the words “offer hospitality without grumbling.” And it felt like I had been punched in the gut.
Everything from my little adult temper tantrum came rushing back to me and I was instantly convicted.
I spent all week thinking I was great in this area. If there was something I could teach others about, it was Christian hospitality.
But then the Holy Spirit showed me just how prideful and wrong I had been.
I confessed to the ladies at the study and apologized to my husband when I got home.
But I couldn’t get away from this idea:
Had I been doing Christian hospitality wrong? Did I misunderstand it the entire time?
I thought hospitality was a nice idea. It was something I enjoyed. But I had never seen it as a mighty tool in the hands of God. I had never seen how God might want to use that tool to wage war against the principalities and powers. And I felt like I had bought a lie.
That was more than 2 years ago. And I have come to realize several things since then, but the most important thing I now know is that God cares deeply about the hospitality of His people.
And it isn’t just so we can be nicer to each other. There is real, deep, spiritual purpose behind our Christian hospitality.
Why hospitality matters for Christians:
The number one reason Christian hospitality matters is because it puts on display the character of God.
God loves hospitality.
He is a hospitable God.
First, in creating humanity, God gave us an amazing environment to grow and develop in. He gave us everything we could need.
When we messed everything up, God had a plan to make things even better than before – He sent Christ, He accomplished our redemption, and He is preparing a place now for us to dwell with Him forever.
He is a hospitable God.
He welcomes those who do not deserve welcome.
We see this played out in the life of Christ. Though He owned no property, He welcomed strangers constantly.
His kindness and generosity toward the unbelieving world was staggering as He ate meals and lived life with men and women. On the day when the redeemed of the world are gathered to Him, He will host a feast (Revelation 19), and we will understand God’s hospitality in an ultimate sense.
Even now, as we partake of communion with other believers in our churches, we are foreshadowing that beautiful day when we sit around a table prepared for us by our Savior and eat a meal by His side.
Our God is a hospitable God.
Christian Hospitality is a Weapon of War
Hospitality is one of the things that Christians are supposed to be known for. It is what the early church did daily (Acts 2:46).
Because that is true, I have to believe Christian hospitality is more than perfect centerpieces and well-curated home decor (although it absolutely can include that if you want it to!).
Hospitality is, at its heart, a weapon of warfare in the hands of God. It is a tool He desires to use to push back the forces of evil in the world.
Hospitality proclaims to sin and Satan that their dominion is not eternal, and that the relationships between image bearers that they seek to destroy can stand under Gospel grace.
Hospitality has deep and abiding, lasting purpose in the hands of God.
Hospitality Builds Community
We are relational beings made by a relational God to be in relationship.
This is why we are given 59 “one another” commands in Scripture. We are supposed to be together, living out the Christian life.
Christian hospitality gives us opportunities to be in discipling relationships with one another
Hospitality also gives us the opportunity to live out the gospel in front of unbelievers (John 13:35).
Hospitality is one of the tools that God uses to build communities in the world that ultimately build His Kingdom.
Purpose in Hospitality
Christian hospitality involves a lot of seemingly mundane things. There are houses to clean and dishes to wash and food to cook. And it can all feel pointless and temporary.
But, faithfulness in these simple, mundane moments is important. It matters, not just for a few minutes, but for eternity. When given over to God, these mundane things have value and purpose.
And when applied to hospitality, these things have a new layer of significance.
Your life lived in ordinary relationships for the glory of God matters and nothing you do in those mundane moments is insignificant.
Interested in learning more about hospitality and specific ways you can host? Check out our FREE Guide to 15 Gatherings You Can Plan in 15 Minutes!