Monday, June 27, 2011
Hospitality is frequently thought of as what is depicted in the picture above. It is the art of entertaining guests by making delicious dishes, having a pretty table setting, pushing all clutter into the closets so our guests think our home is spotless or maybe that's just me at times along with a myriad of other things aimed at keeping our guests happy. However, hospitality is more than mindlessly entertaining our guests with cutesy desserts and board games.
Hospitality is described as hospitable treatment, reception or disposition (Webster's). Last year, I read Radical Hospitality by Father Daniel Homann and Lonni Pratt. It was a reminder that our view of hospitality today is starkly different than that of the past. In Biblical times, it was considered a cultural norm to take care of the strangers and foreigners living among you. Deuteronomy 10:19 commands God's people to show hospitality because they were once foreigners in Egypt. In the New Testament-Romans 12:13 reinforces this by stating: "Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." This verse takes it beyond just strangers commanding us to share with God's people who are in need. Hospitality goes beyond the four walls of our dining rooms but it also needs to happen in our dining rooms-whether guests are present or not! We should strive to be hospitable in our everyday lives. Our sisters, aunts, the single mom who could use some help with her kids, friends invited into our homes and strangers.
An excerpt from Matthew 25:
Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you? He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
How can we show more hospitality to others in our daily lives?