"Let brotherly love continue. Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:1-2 HCSB
What is hospitality? Webster defines hospitality as, “generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests or hospitable treatment.” Dictionary.com goes further to define it as “the friendly treatment and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”
The writer of Hebrews reminds us to show hospitality, therefore, we should be welcoming, friendly, and generous to our guests, visitors and to strangers. That sounds easy, but is it? I don’t have any problem being hospitable to family and friends that visit our home. I love to entertain them with good food, a comfortable, homey atmosphere, and a warm welcome. But what about the strangers that knock on my door? In today’s societal climate I’m not very welcoming at times. In fact, I’m downright skeptical and standoffish, bordering on rude. But the scripture says “Don’t neglect to show hospitality.” That’s a bit of a dilemma. How do we show hospitality to everyone who lands on our doorstep? We trust God. We treat that person standing at the door with kindness, but we also use our heads and listen carefully for the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We don’t know how the Lord may want to use us to plant seeds for the kingdom.
What about other opportunities to show hospitality? For instance, at church. When a visitor walks through the door of your church what do you do? Welcome them, introduce yourself, tell them you’re glad they’ve come to worship with you, offer to sit with them? Or do you look at them and wonder why they’ve come, wait for someone else to speak to them, or go on about your business, ignoring them?
True story...I was visiting a church in another city one time, pre-covid era. I was alone. At the time when the pastor invited everyone to greet each other, not a single person spoke to me or even acknowledged my presence except one woman with whom I made eye contact and spoke to first. I felt very lonely that morning but reminded myself that I wasn’t there to interact with those people but to interact with and worship the Lord. The sad thing is, those people didn’t know who I was, I could have been desperate for Christian encouragement or I could have been seeking a church home or I could have been there for any one of a multitude of reasons, but no one made an effort to learn why I had come. They were very hospitable with each other but not hospitable at all to me and I left with a poor impression.
Let’s not neglect to show hospitality in our churches, especially to those we don’t know, it’s important.
Susan Sims Meyer
Thoughts and paintings from my personal quiet time and Bible study