What is a true heart of hospitality? The word hospitality is defined as the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. It is also means the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, and generous way. In Greek the term for hospitality carries the meaning of being fond of guests or strangers, being friendly, or being actively fond of a stranger.
Within scripture we see hospitality as a requirement for leadership (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8). In 1 Peter 4:9 we are encouraged to, “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” Again in Romans 12:13 Christian behavior is described as, “Distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” A widow was qualified for support by other believers based partially on if she had been hospitable (1 Timothy 5:10).
How do we know what a heart of hospitality is? We simply look to the Father. A genuine heart of hospitality within us comes from God the Father. We gain a hospitable heart by experiencing God’s heart of hospitality. God is always welcoming. He desires us to come into His presence and welcomes us with open arms. Jesus modeled this hospitality throughout His ministry on earth.
Jesus was consistently inviting others into fellowship with Him. The invitation of, “Come to Me,” was open to all and always open. He not only invited people in, but He welcomed them in. Many of those who responded to the invitation were known sinners, tax collectors, and prostitutes. These people responded to the heart of hospitality within Jesus. They needed to be welcomed. They needed to be invited. They needed to be loved.
We can imagine how often this group had not been welcomed, even not allowed in. But here was Jesus, not only allowing them in, but acknowledging their presence and welcoming them. As we look at the heart of Jesus we realize that His hospitality traveled with Him. It was not reserved for where He was dwelling alone. Jesus took it on the road with Him. He took it to the well, into the synagogues, onto the streets, and into each interaction He had with others. This is because hospitality was not simply an action to Him, but a way of life. It was part of who He was.
Christians today tend to think of hospitality as something that is done within our homes. But the reality is that the heart of hospitality should travel with us. It should be a part of who we are. The heart of hospitality should be made manifest in each interaction we have with the people we come in contact with. Our goal is to demonstrate the Father’s heart of hospitality by welcoming others in.
Genuine hospitality cannot be mustered up. It cannot be acted out. But rather true hospitality comes as we experience God’s hospitality. It comes as we see Jesus demonstrating hospitality to those around Him. It comes as we ask the Father for His heart for others.
Sincere hospitality changes people. The demonstration of the Father’s heart to others is what draws them in. It is what shows them that they are valuable. The challenge for us today is to live out a hospitable heart. To authentically welcome others into our lives and hearts. To ask God to work that out within us.
Demonstrating a heart of hospitality will cost us something. It may cost us time. It may cost us comfort. It may cost us personal space. The bottom line is that true hospitality will cost us some measure of self. We have to make room for a heart of hospitality within us and within our lives.
Things of true value will always cost us something. But it is those things that cost us something which yield the highest eternal reward. Jesus says to count the cost and follow Him. May we count the cost of hospitality and begin to ask God the Father for His heart in regards to it. For a sincere heart of hospitality. Be blessed in your seeking dear Christian.