(July 20) Why Biblical Hospitality Matters

Biblical hospitality can be challenging. For many, fear is an issue. To read about dealing with fears of biblical hospitality, please read part 1.

Sometimes we do obey the Word of God, but we do so with grumbling. Scripture not only exhorts us to practice hospitality, but to do so without grumbling. To read about how to obey without grumbling, please read part 2.

Maybe you wonder why biblical hospitality is so important. Rosaria Butterfield, author of "The Gospel Comes with a House Key," gives ten helpful reminders. Today, we will consider 1-5. What follows is an excerpt from a more extensive article found on Crossway's website.

1. Hospitality reflects the gospel.

Faithful Christians are—and have always been—a strange minority in a hostile world. Redeemed by Christ, we have lost our old lives—and with our lives, we have left behind the history, identity, and people who once claimed us. Conversion starts with the sacrifice of what once was, and the gospel provides for what we have relinquished through hospitality. The gospel comes with a house key, and that key unlocks the “hundredfold” of God’s provision of family and community for others. Hospitality is the ground zero of the Christian life.

2. Hospitality is spiritual warfare.

Hospitality that gathers brothers and sisters alongside unsaved neighbors and strangers isn’t charity or kindness; rather, it takes the gospel upstream of the culture war—where it belongs—and shakes the very gates of heaven for the souls of our neighbors. When we are in each other’s lives daily, we are not operating with ignorance or stereotypes about other people and their “lifestyles.” We don’t have to wonder what our unbelieving neighbor thinks about us, because he is sitting right here, passing the potatoes and telling us exactly what he thinks.

3. Hospitality makes room for different kinds of hosts and guests.

Every Christian is called to practice hospitality, but that does not mean that everyone practices it in the same way. We practice hospitality by sharing our resources and our needs, by serving as both host and guest, as Jesus did when he walked this earth.

4. Hospitality is the Benedict option on mission.

St. Benedict, the 6th century father of western monasticism whose response to the collapse of Roman civilization helped preserve the Christian faith, has received renewed attention with Rod Dreher’s 2017 publication of The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. We Butterfields practice almost-daily hospitality, including table fellowship, Bible reading, psalm singing, and prayer. This comes out in the wash as Benedict option on mission. The invitation is wide open, and sometimes we spill into three rooms. Dining nightly with brothers and sisters from the church has developed deep familial bonds. Over the years, we have learned how to help each other without being asked.

Is this awkward? Yes. But how else will your unsaved neighbor know that the throne of God brings grace to some, but judgment to others? How will he know that the culture of sexual freedom and personal autonomy has duped him and stolen his integrity as an image bearer of a Holy God?

5. Hospitality requires unity in the church.

If the church felt the priority of our brotherhood and sisterhood over and against our fleshly identities, we too would make hospitality a priority. Christian unity would shift our focus from programs to relationships. We would see our lack of vibrant, regular, and distinctive hospitality as the dirty, rotten sin that it is.

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