Often when we think about hospitality our mind conjures up images of women hurrying around a kitchen seeking to prepare the perfect Pinterest meal. Women sign up for hospitality classes. Even home economics courses have typically been taught by women with female students filling the classroom seats. The idea of hospitality being a female issue is changing in the larger culture, with men participating in dinner parties and intentional community building around food as much as women have in the past. But in the church, hospitality is a human issue, not a female one.
I hope you have seen throughout this brief series that hospitality is for everyone—men, women, and children. Scripture reminds us that hospitality is not gender specific. Abraham welcomed the angels who told him of Sodom’s coming destruction (Gen. 18:1-15). The widow at Zarephath provided food for Elijah (1 Kings 17:7-24). Lydia opened her home to the church (Acts 16:13-15). Elders must be hospitable (1 Tim. 3:2). And Jesus, the God-man, came into the world “eating and drinking” as Rachel Jankovic helpfully points out in her book Fit to Burst.
The practice of welcoming people into our homes is rooted in our function as image bearers of God. We welcome others—family, strangers, neighbors, enemies—because God stooped low to welcome us while we were still enemies and strangers (Rom. 5:8). We can be hospitable because the God, whose image we bear, was once hospitable to us.
For too long we’ve relegated the ministry of hospitality to women only. When we minister together, to welcome outsiders into our homes we tell a beautiful story of God’s self-sacrificing love for us that we in turn share with others by our very hospitality.
We hope this little series has helped you catch a vision for the ministry of hospitality. It looks different in every home, every season, and every family. It’s not a checklist to master, but a lifestyle to adopt. If you walked away from this with a list of things to implement rather than a heart to serve others in your season, we will have not done our job.
Hospitality is not about meeting a list of requirements, but about telling a story of the greatest welcome to every guest who walks through our door. God welcomed us into his family through Christ, so we in turn can do likewise in our own homes, praying that with every hospitable act those we serve will see the light of Christ in our lives and in our families.
Image: Piazzetta San Marco, Venice, at Dawn by Benh LIEU SONG on 7/10/15, accessed on Flickr and licensed under Creative Commons
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