On earth Christ faced many hindrances to His hospitality effort. Our Savior did not allow these hindrances to stand in His way. Instead He formed an even more beautiful hospitality ministry because of them.
Hospitality Hindrances Christ Faced and How He Dealt with Them
Thank you for coming back to our Hindrances to Hospitality series!! This is our 3rd look into this topic and today we are going to explore one of the most beautiful aspects of our motivation for hospitality.
As we have said before, we have to know why we are supposed to be hospitable in order to maintain an attitude and spirit of welcome. Otherwise we will most likely gain a few moments of inspiration here and there but primarily live lives that are separated from one another and lack community all the while thinking of hospitality as something that can be checked off a list.
Today our discussion is on the person of Christ: the hospitality He lived out, the hindrances He faced, and how He overcame them.
Throughout the Scriptures we see that the nature of God is hospitable. From the opening verses He is preparing a place for people to live in fellowship with Him. He plans and prepares a home for us where we can be with Him. When Christ enters the world, He comes as this hospitable God to show us what a life of hospitality really looks like.
Hospitality according to Webster’s dictionary is defined as “generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests.”
From the very beginning of His earthly life, Christ was hospitable. His purpose in coming to the earth was to glorify God by redeeming a people who would live with Him forever in His heavenly home. He came to welcome us. His eternal purpose is hospitality to those who deserve it least.
On earth Christ faced many hindrances to His hospitality effort which we will explore in detail in this post.
Our Savior did not allow these hindrances to stand in His way. Instead He formed an even more beautiful hospitality ministry because of them.
Hindrance #1: No Home of His Own
Christ had no earthly home and yet His life displayed perfectly the hospitable, welcoming nature of our God.
With no home of His own, He allowed Himself to be on the receiving end of generosity. He welcomed those who were outcasts and was willing to go to them. It doesn’t appear Zacchaeus had too many houseguests in the story in Luke 19 but Christ wanted to welcome Zacchaeus and was willing even to sit in His house. Zacchaeus found a friend in Christ as Christ was willing to sit and eat at his table.
Too often we are tempted to allow a small space or no space of our own to give us an excuse against hospitality. It may take more creativity but it is always possible. There are plenty of opportunities to meet at coffee shops, restaurants, or even go for a walk, not to mention going to someone else’s home. Many times I have had young people say to me, “I would love to do something, but I can’t really have people in my dorm room.” That provides me with an opportunity to welcome them and I didn’t have to initiate. I am always thankful for that.
Hindrance #2: No Wealth
Christ also had no wealth to speak of. Because of this, as He welcomed the crowds to gather and hear His teaching, He did so dependent on God to meet their needs. And God showed up. In both Matthew 14: 13-21 and Matthew 15:32-39 God supplies miraculously for the crowds that have gathered to hear Christ teach.
Christ, our Savior, focused on spiritual food but did not forget the benefit of breaking earthly bread and thus depended on a heavenly supply for the crowd that gathered.
How often do we fret about our finances and allow them to stand in the way of obeying this command? If God supplies the people to fill your home, trust Him also to supply the needs those people bring. This also is an opportunity for creativity. For a look at some inexpensive hospitality opportunities, check out this article.
Hindrance #3: A Very Strict Religious System Which Looked Down on Many
The Pharisees saw people living in sin as those to look down on. Not recognizing their pride and trust in their own sufficiency, they looked at people with blatant, outward sins as those to be rejected and pushed away.
Christ was willing to eat with everyone. He was fully aware that His power could transform any soul (and we can rest in that same power at work in our acts of hospitality today). Because of this, He ate with Pharisees (Luke 7), tax collectors (Luke 19), and Samaritans (John 4).
Neither wealth, poverty, ethnicity, or background stood in the way of Christ’s welcome.
Despite the fact that the Pharisees saw this as contaminating Him, Christ knew the far better way and looked beyond physical circumstances to the dead hearts of all those around Him that needed to be made alive.
And that ought to be true of Christ’s followers as well. We have no right to exclude hospitality from those who are different from us based on external factors. Examine those who enter your home, are they all like you? Or are different ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds represented. Christ extended hospitality regardless of such factors and His Church should be known for the same thing.
Hindrance #4: Rejection
Christ’s hospitality was rejected time after time. He extended the call to follow Him (Luke18) and people turned away. Some started following Him and turned on Him when things got challenging (John 6:66). Others stayed until near the end of His life and left Him in His greatest time of need (Luke 22:60).
And yet Christ continued to extend a welcome. His plans were much bigger than momentary rejection. He was going to redeem a people for Himself and He had eternity in view.
How often are our offers of hospitality rejected and we give up? How often are we discouraged rather than compassionate when people act in their sinful nature?
Christ calls us to a relentless, pursuing hospitality. This is the hospitality He has welcomed us with and this is the hospitality He calls us to welcome others with.
So instead of facing every hindrance to hospitality with resentment and discouragement or throwing our hands up and saying we can’t be hospitable, let’s choose to live a life of welcome and count our hindrances as a blessing because in this way we are fellowshipping with our Savior and living like Him.
If you would like to check out the beginning of this series, click here! Or if you missed the last post check it out here! Come back next week for more discussion about what stands in the way of our hospitality efforts!