Do you remember the following melody and song lyrics?
“Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage. This I tell you brother, you can’t have one without the other.”
Have you ever considered how hospitality and love go together like a teacup and saucer? Both can stand alone, yet one without the other is not complete. Hospitality offered without love leaves your guest feeling cold. A teacup without a saucer can be filled, yet the cup and spoon have no place to rest properly. When people come together through biblical hospitality, usually they will find their cups being filled to overflowing with love and sweet moments of rest.
Hospitality must come from the heart; otherwise it is nothing more than entertainment. Webster’s dictionary defines hospitality as “the act, practice, or quality of being hospitable; friendly and solicitous (showing care, attention, concern) entertainment of guests.” A great definition, but for the Christian woman there is so much more: tender acts of kindness, caring, listening, serving, and touching the lives of others in Jesus’ name.
How do we demonstrate hospitality from the heart?
Where is hospitality demonstrated? First and foremost it is to be exemplified in your home. Your home is the greatest evangelistic tool available to reach a lost world for Christ. Your home is to be a prepared place for those who live there and for those who visit–a refuge. From our homes hospitality is to be demonstrated to the church, taken to the marketplace, and into the world. (Romans 12:13; Titus 2:3-5; Proverbs 31:27)
Who is offered hospitality? God shows no partiality; therefore we must be willing to express hospitality to everyone. Hospitality is to be shown to our neighbors (Matthew 5:43-48). We are to invite the needy (Luke 14:12-14). James 2:1-10 admonishes us to show no favoritism. Hebrews 13:2 states, “Do not forget to entertain strangers…” Many times our hearts are not open to everyone–we have a list of exclusions.
When is hospitality to be extended? It is not often that the word always can be used, but this is one of those instances. Hospitality is to be spontaneous and intentional; both require our time and effort. Paul instructed Timothy to “preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season.” (2 Timothy 4:2) Demonstrating hospitality does not always fit into our schedules. This is why it is important to be prepared at all times. Create a special nook in your home just for tea and talk. When you are preparing casseroles, soup, breads, and muffins, make extra and freeze for future use.
What are the benefits of hospitality? The benefits come through our relationships: creating new ones and nurturing the old. Touching lives through biblical hospitality is about refreshing others with encouragement, restoring a relationship which has been broken, renewing a relationship which has fallen by the wayside.
Why practice hospitality? You and I are given the opportunity to share Christ, our greatest treasure, a priceless possession. Furthermore it is a command.
Biblical hospitality is a lifestyle. Perhaps today you need to write a love note from your heart to God’s heart and say: “My home is open and available to everyone You bring to my door. I am willing to learn how to take the necessary steps to be prepared always. I want to touch lives, build relationships, and share the greatest treasure, Jesus Christ. Create in me a willingness to sit at Your feet and serve hospitality from the heart.”
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About Laura Leathers
Laura is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She is the founder of Tea Time Treasures, a ministry promoting Biblical Hospitality (www.teatimetreasures.net). Currently she is employed as an administrative assistant within a detention center—ministry in the marketplace. Laura received her Women's Ministry Certificate Advanced Degree from New Orleans Theological Seminary. She is a graduate of Speak Up with Confidence Seminars (Basic and Advanced) and CLASS (Christian Leaders, Authors, and Speaker Services). Over the years she has served as a Bible teacher, conference speaker and a free-lance writer.
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