Hospitality = Unusual kindness and love

Last week I wrote my first post on hospitality and focused on preparing the heart for hospitality. If you haven’t read it yet, go back and read it.

Next week I’ll focus on preparing the home for hospitality. I’ll give you some great tips and some good things to have on hand. But today, I want to look as some Scriptures to give us perspective.

Matthew 25:35-36,40:

“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; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me’…. The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”

Here in Matthew 25:31-46, we are told that when we love and serve the hungry, the strangers, the sick, the widows, the orphans, the poor and hurting, we are loving and serving Jesus Himself. When we forget or ignore those in need, we are forgetting and ignoring Christ.

A4J (All 4 Jesus) is a squatter community outreach program every Sunday for 11 weeks in Manila. We were handing out shirts at the beginning of the program.

Secondly, I want to point out that Scripture is once again, painting a different picture of hospitality than Pinterest does. Instead of focusing on what recipes to use, let’s focus on another person’s difficulty and how we might help.

The list of actions we see in this passage are:

  • offer food and drink,
  • invite strangers in,
  • clothe,
  • visit when sick or in prison

When we reach out to strangers in love, we are living the Gospel. We are seeking out those who strangers, those who are broken and alienated. Then, as we find a way to invite them in, love on them (meeting their emotional needs), and offer hospitality (meeting their physical needs), we are mirroring the way God has made a way for us when we had nothing to offer Him.

When we reach out to strangers in love, we are living the Gospel. Click To Tweet

Acts 27 and 28

I’m also reminded of another passage, Acts 27:1-28:10 where the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked on Malta. He was on a boat full of prisoners and soldiers bound for Rome. (There is a LOT to this story, I would encourage you to read it for yourself!!) During this horrific storm (that was at least 14 DAYS long if I’m understanding it right), prisoners were jumping overboard to avoid being killed by the soldiers, but one centurion goes out of his way to save Paul. It must have been total chaos. Eventually, as Paul had prophesied, all the men made it to shore alive.

Then, I’m amazed by the islanders kindness. Acts 28:2,

The islanders showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.

Before the townspeople even had a chance to learn that the men were prisoners, they welcomed Paul and that rag-tag bunch and showed them extraordinary kindness.

They were without shelter, so the chief of the entire island, Publius, invited them to stay. Scripture says that he entertained them hospitably for 3 days (verse 7). Strangers. For 3 days!! Paul finished his account by noting that they supplied them with ALL that they needed to sail off again.

Sometimes hospitality is simply a love that meets and exceeds real needs with unusual and extraordinary kindness.1475_508031410449_3127_n

Hospitality is sometimes a love that exceeds real needs with unusual and extraordinary kindness. Click To Tweet

But, meeting needs can involve a giving away of our time, space, and stuff. We will be asked to sacrifice. Extending true hospitality may not be convenient, expected, or even common, but as followers of Christ, we aren’t called to be common. We are called to unusual kindness and love.

Look around you and ask,

What pressing needs can I meet? What strangers am I encountering whom I can show unusual kindness and love to?