Living a life of radical welcome is not what most people think of when it comes to hospitality but Christ is our best example. Jesus shows us how to welcome.
The Welcome of Jesus
Christ is the prime example of every characteristic we ought to emulate. He is ultimate in love, humility, grace, generosity, and yes… hospitality. Romans 15: 7 (really the whole context as well) contains what I believe to be a transformative section that is not often talked about.
“Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
Often our only perspective on hospitality is that it is done within the context of our homes, over dinner, as often as we can bring ourselves to do it. This is far too narrow a viewpoint. During His earthly ministry Christ did not have a home to call His own which He could open & be hospitable within.
Does this mean, our Savior was not hospitable? Far from it!
His entire earthly ministry was spent welcoming people and His death and resurrection made it possible for us to enter His eternal home and feast with Him forever. He is our picture of hospitality.
As Christ lived among us, He laid a foundation and example for how we ought to live. He taught us through His sermons and how He lived life what ought to be important to us, what we ought to treasure, and how we ought to interact with people. He, the only wise God, had compassion on the ill, was willing to sit among tax collectors, shared meals with the lowest of society, welcomed the immoral, taught children, and cared for the broken.
He, Who created this world perfectly, Who spoke it all into existence, and watched as we humans ruined it, still had grace and welcomed all Who would come to Him. He continues to do this even now as He sits enthroned in the heavens and living among His Church.
He did all of this without owning an earthly home and without monetary resources. Hospitality really isn’t about those things. Though, in our very small modern way of thinking, it can often seem that way.
Shouldn’t our perspective on hospitality be radically broadened as we look at the life of Christ? Hospitality has nothing to do with what we own, or the amount of expendable income we have. Hospitality is about something far greater than all of that. It is about living a welcoming life, ready to serve and bless and encourage others the way Christ has served and blessed and encouraged us.
Hospitality is about building people up so that we can together glorify God.
Don’t Think Small!
I had far too small a perspective on hospitality for years! I desperately want my life to be characterized by the same welcoming spirit my Savior had – one that says to the weary person, “Come and rest.” – one that says to the grieving person “Come and cry on my shoulder and I will weep with you.” – one that says to the person rejoicing “Tell me so I too can rejoice!”
Christ has born every weight on our behalf. He has shown us EXACTLY what it means to welcome and it was never about welcoming only the people we feel comfortable around. It is about welcoming image bearers, no matter how much money they have, what they look like, or whether they have proper etiquette or agree with us politically. The gospel is a message of hope for sinners, of whom I am foremost!
If Christ has welcomed me, weak and fragile, often proud and defensive, quick to speak and quick to become angry, then who I am to withhold that welcome from others?
The radical welcome of Christ should leave us in awe and produce a people who can do nothing but welcome others in response!
To read further on this topic, check out these articles:
Have you experienced the radical welcome of Christ? How can you live that out in your life now toward others? Do you think we often have too small a view of hospitality where it becomes more about entertaining than extending welcome? Let me know in the comments below!