Friday, July 5, 2013

Are You Hospitable?

Hospitality? Is it your thing? Does it come natural to you? Do you run and hide in your room at the very thought? Once when I was setting up new families in my sons school with seasoned families to be mentors....and when I asked one family if they would be mentors the mom said..."No, I don't think I am very hospitable". And she may not be....but what I do that lady can plan the details of a large school function like no other!

Nine years ago I took a spiritual gifting test....and yesterday I retook it to see how things have evolved for me and my gifting over the years. What I found was not surprise to me...My number one gifting was tied between hospitality and prophecy. We will dive into prophecy another day. It is extremely beneficial to know what your gifted in. For me...administration and evangelism were at the bottom of my list! I love to plan big events...but if I don't have a detailed person along side me helping me to get everything done...I will leave everything until the last minute and destroy my family in the wake of frantic rantings to get the job done.

For the first time I thought to myself....self....if this is your number 1 gifting...than you should be looking in the Bible to see what it has to say about hospitality. Did you know hospitality is in the Bible? I have compiled a list given from my Bible (The Life Application Study bible, New King James Version, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc) In regular print you will read the bold print you will read what the study notes in my Bible have to say to support the verse. It has really opened my eyes to evaluating how...why...when...and even who...I am inviting into my home.

Hospitality according to the Bible

Genesis 18: 2-5
So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, and said, “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. And I will bring a morel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.” They said, “Do as you have said.”

Abraham was eager to show hospitality to these three visitors, as was Lot. In Abraham’s day, a person’s reputation was largely connected to his hospitality—the sharing of home and food. Even strangers were to be treated as highly honored guests. Meeting another’s need for food or shelter was and still is one of the most immediate and practical ways to obey God. It is also a time-honored relationship builder. Hebrews 13:2 suggests that we like Abraham, might actually entertain angels. This thought should be on our minds the next time we have the opportunity to meet a stranger’s needs.

Luke 10:7-8
And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer Is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. (8)Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. (9) And heal the sick there, and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you.

Jesus’ direction to stay in one house avoided certain problems. Shifting from house to house could offend the families who first took them in. Some families might begin to compete for the disciples’ presence, and some might think they weren’t good enough to hear their message. If the disciples appeared not to appreciate the hospitality offered them, the town might not accept Jesus when he followed them there. In addition, by staying in one place, the disciples did not have to worry continually about getting good accommodations. They could settle down and do their appointed task.

Jesus told his disciples to accept hospitality graciously because their work entitled them to it. Ministers of the gospel deserve to be supported, and it is our responsibility to make sure they have what they need. There are several ways to encourage those who serve God in his church. First see that they have an adequate salary. Second, see that they are supported emotionally; plan a time to express appreciation for something they have done. Third, life their spirits with special surprises from time to time. Our ministers deserve to know we are giving to them cheerfully and generously.

Luke 10:38-42
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Mary & Martha both loved Jesus. On this occasion they were both serving him. But Martha thought Mary’s style of serving was inferior to hers. She didn’t realize that in her desire to serve, she was actually neglecting her guest. Are you so busy doing things FOR Jesus that you’re not spending any time with him? Don’t let your service become self-serving.
Jesus did not blame Martha for being concerned about household chores. He was only asking her to set priorities. It is possible for service to Christ to degenerate into mere busywork that is no longer full of devotion to God.

Romans 12:13
Distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

Healthy self-esteem is important because some of us think too little of ourselves; on the other hand, some of us overestimate ourselves. The key to an honest and accurate evaluation is knowing the basis of our self-worth—our identity in Christ. Apart from him, we aren’t capable of very much by eternal standards; in him, we are valuable and capable of worthy service. Evaluating yourself by the worldly standards of success and achievement can cause you to think too much about your worth in the eyes of others and thus miss your true value in God’s eyes. 

3 John 5
Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers.

In the church’s early days, traveling prophets, evangelists, and teachers (the “brethren”) were helped on their way by people like Gaius who housed and fed them. Hospitality is a lost art in many churches today. We would do well to invite more people for meals—fellow church members, young people, traveling missionaries, those in need, visitors. This is an active and much appreciated way to show your love. In fact it is probably more important today. Because of our individualistic, self-centered society, there are many lonely people who wonder if anyone cares whether they live or die. If yu find such a lonely person, show him or her that you care!

Philemon 1:4-7
I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.

Paul reflected on Philemon’s love and faith. Philemon had opened his heart and his home to the church. We should do likewise opening ourselves and our homes to others, offering Christian fellowship to refresh people’s hearts.

Hebrews 13:2
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. 

Three Old Testament people “unwittingly entertained angels”: {1} Abraham (Genesis 18:1) {2}Gideon (Judges 6:11) and {3}Manoah (Judges 13:2). Some people say they cannot be hospitable because their homes are not large enough or nice enough. But even if you have no more than a table and two chairs in a rented room, there are people who would be grateful to spend time in your home. Are there visitors to your church with whom you could share a meal? Do you know single people who would enjoy an evening of conversation? Is there any way your home could meet the needs of traveling missionaries? Hospitality simply means making other people feel comfortable and at home.

2 John 10
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him…

John instructed the believers not to show hospitality to false teachers. They were to do nothing that would encourage the heretics in their propagation of falsehoods. In addition, if believers were to invite them in, such action would show that they were approving of what the false teachers said and did. It may seem rude to turn people away, even if they are teaching heresy, but how much better it is to be faithful to God than merely courteous to people! John is condemning the support of those who are dedicated to opposing the true teachings of God, not condemning hospitality to unbelievers. John adds that a person who supports a false teacher in any way shares in the teacher’s wicked work.

I will be diving into each of these sections individually and sharing my thoughts and experiences on them in the coming weeks. I am very intrigued and hungry to learn more about this "gifting" that comes naturally to me. If you are interested in learning about your own spiritual gifting...go here to take the same test I took.

A couple of other great resources about learning more about hospitality are the following books:


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