“Dad, are we having people over tonight?” This was a regular question in our household when our children were young.
Every Sabbath when possible, we would be desirous of “having people over.”
Our family has many years of very pleasant memories of giving and receiving hospitality.
My daughter, now married with children, told me in a recent discussion, “That’s what helped us so much to stay in the Church.” Today, with brethren so scattered, it is even more important for us to be hospitable.
While it is a requirement for an elder, deacon or deaconess, we are all in training to be kings and priests and therefore must be “given to hospitality” (1 Timothy 3:2).
For the true Christian, hospitality is not an option—it is a command.
Romans 12:13 states that we are to practice hospitality.
1 Peter 4:9 says, “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.”
What, then, is our attitude to hospitality?
Essential to hospitality is a willingness to give or share, which means opening our homes up to others, giving to others, and building life-long friendships.
We must understand what true Christian hospitality really is. Some have no real comprehension of the basics of hospitality.
Satan’s world has had its effect even on God’s people, striving to force us into the world’s mold of “hospitality.” It is easy to think like society around us regarding “entertaining,” where it becomes a chance just to demonstrate skills or quality of our home.
The fact is that entertaining has little to do with real hospitality. The world’s concept of entertaining is in bondage to Satan the devil. Its source is “human pride” demanding perfection—fostering the urge to impress. It is a rigorous taskmaster that can easily enslave.
Entertaining the world’s way says, I want to impress you with my beautiful home, my clever decorating, my gourmet cooking. True hospitality, however, seeks to serve. While it is not wrong to have a beautifully decorated home and serve gourmet meals, godly hospitality demonstrates the attitude, This home is not mine; it is truly a gift from God. He provides for my family and me. I strive to use it as He desires.
Hospitality does not try to impress but to serve.
Entertaining always puts worldly things before people. Often people say, As soon as I get the home finished, my place settings complete, a new dining room suite, those new curtains, then I shall have people over.
True hospitality, however, puts people before things. We have no furniture—we will eat sitting on the floor. The painting/alterations are incomplete, but please come just the same.
God is not a respecter of persons (or dwellings).
For years, my wife and I renovated houses for a living. During this time our home often had the kitchen in pieces, blankets nailed over holes in the ceiling to keep the wind out, belongings in boxes, and sometimes bare concrete floors. Despite these conditions due to my work, we had some of the most wonderful times and never thought about not having people over.
Because hospitality puts away pride, it does not care if people see that we are human. If we maintain no false pretenses, people relax and feel that perhaps we really are friends. We can help each other.
Entertaining looks for payment and wants to hear comments like, My, isn’t he/she a remarkable host? Don’t they have a beautiful home? Hospitality does everything with no thought of reward but takes pleasure in the joy of giving, doing, loving and serving others. Hospitality creates warmth and therefore produces a spiritual bond.
Saying that we cannot afford to be hospitable is no excuse. Many times I remember well how we would have two or three families over and everyone would contribute food. We always had plenty. The important thing is to offer what we do have and share our time and personalities with each other.
The first-century Church obviously practiced true hospitality as can be seen in Acts 2:44: “And all who believed were together and had all things in common” (Revised Standard Version).
Teaching our children the difference between hospitality and entertaining is very important. We will take true hospitality into the Millennium and teach what we have truly learned and lived.
So, I ask, Who is coming over to your home this week?
Think on these things.