(Weekend July 21/22) Why Hospitality Matters, part 2
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.
Rosaria Butterfield, author of "The Gospel Comes with a House Key," gives ten helpful reminders about biblical hospitality. What follows is an excerpt from a more extensive article found on Crossway's website. To read reminders 1-5, please click here.
6. Hospitality nurtures and grows the family of God.
Chronic loneliness should never be the norm in the church. The church is God’s family, and we should live in daily community. Chronic, debilitating loneliness in the midst of the great assembly of God’s people devastates lives, and sadly, this cancer is growing in the church. A small group that meets once a week is a paltry answer to this problem. But nightly table fellowship, where all brothers and sisters from the church are welcome, forges relationships of belonging and growth in grace.
7. Hospitality is good for the giver.
People whose lives are riddled with hidden sin patterns hate hospitality. They fear its openness. They moan about its burdens. Their idols leave no room for competition. And maybe it isn’t egregious sin that causes the barrier. Maybe it is domesticated sin. Maybe they care more about their boundaries and their white carpet than they care for their church family or for the eternal state of their neighbors.
Hospitality puts our lives and hearts on display. We see our selfish ambition and our pride. When we see our own sin clearly, when we confess and repent of sin daily, then we are ready with a clean conscience to hold material things lightly and people dearly. Hospitality is good for the giver because it puts our lives and hearts on display. It compels us to confess and repent, to live below our means, and to build in margin time for the unexpected needs of others.
8. Daily hospitality is good for the children.
It’s good for children to watch their parents living the gospel in regular, nightly table fellowship. They watch you warmly embrace neighbors who think differently than you do, and they hope that maybe, just maybe, their secrets are safe with you. They watch you live gospel fluency, handle conflict, make sacrifices, and they see unbelievers come to Christ at the kitchen table. The children in the neighborhood catch on to what is going on at your home, and soon, they start coming to dinner, asking questions, opening their hearts in family devotions, and coming to church. These kids start to bring their siblings. Or their parents. Your children behold that Jesus really is King and really is alive, and that he isn’t just some prop you pull out on Sunday morning or for youth group.
9. Hospitality is expensive.
Hospitality takes money and time...all of this takes time, money, sacrifice, and flexibility.
10. Hospitality is worth it.
Hospitality develops eyes to see. It sharpens the saw of God’s word on our hard hearts. It develops bold intimacy among people who would never have reason to be friends. It grieves the loss of missed opportunities to serve. It shudders at Jesus’s words, “For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. . . . as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me” (Matthew 25:42–45). Jesus identifies with the stranger, the outsider, the needy. Daily hospitality hones a distinctive Christian culture from within as it embraces evangelistic optimism, knowing that if God wills, strangers will become neighbors and neighbors will become part of the family of God.