After Mary and Jim married and moved into their first apartment, they decided to set aside a room in which to host others. I became a beneficiary of their warm hospitality on a teaching trip. They welcomed me, a stranger, into their home and showered me with love.
The practice of hospitality is central in Scripture. Jesus received hospitality from those He ministered to (Mark 2:15-16, 14:3; Luke 7:36). Sisters Mary and Martha of Bethany opened their home to Jesus (Luke 10:38), and He probably stayed in their home each time He came to Jerusalem (Matthew 21:17; Luke 21:37).
The apostle John cited an example of a believer who hosted traveling teachers. Although strangers to him, Gaius gave them a place to stay. He was commended for his cheerful and loving hospitality: “You are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth” (3 John 1:5-8).
We may not be missionaries or traveling Bible teachers. But we can partner with them and others who need our hospitality. Peter wrote, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other . . . . Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay” (1 Peter 4:8-9). And the apostle Paul urges us to “always be eager to practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13).
Our generous, loving God can provide what we need to show hospitality to those in need.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 4:5-22
Read 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:8. Why is being hospitable a necessary qualification for church leadership?
Why would you be willing or unwilling to host a total stranger in your home? How does hospitality reflect the heart of God?