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Over the past 20 years we have traveled to nearly every state in the U.S. and have been all over Mexico, the Caribbean, and into Europe and South America. During that time we have had the opportunity to experience first-hand the hospitality of many, many different churches and individuals in many different cultures. In all those years one thing became glaringly apparent. Basically, Biblical hospitality is either not taught or it has been updated, watered down and minimized in the grand scheme of things in the church.

Scripture is very clear on the subject of hospitality. Jesus Himself not only taught it, but more importantly, He lived it. Since the Word of God tells us that Jesus is our example, should we not do the same? Hospitality as described by the Bible is a most blessed service which should reflect our love for not only the brethren, but all those who are sent unto us by the Lord. We should spare no effort or expense to see to the comfort and security of those who visit us.

Here I would like to say that, yes, there are those who will always take advantage of a giving nature, but don't let that ever be in the forefront of your attitude when offering hospitality. If you do your part according to the Scriptures, the Lord will show you how to deal with those who do not accept God-given hospitality with the same graciousness as it is offered.

Traditionally, the act of hospitality has been left to the women of the house or the church, and perhaps women, because of the way God created them, are better suited to the actual practical aspects of hospitality. But brothers, don't think for one moment that God will not hold you accountable for your part in offering hospitality.

I really believe the primary motivating factor in not giving forth the kind of hospitality the scriptures tell us to give is the bottom line - the bank balance - the pocket book, at least here in the United States. We are so afraid God will require us to spend a buck on someone who isn't a charter, tithe paying member of our church. Not only does He requires it - He demands it. The second greatest barrier to offering Godly hospitality is that we might have to give of ourselves. Again, the Lord demands this. Let's go to the Word of God and see what it has to say to us on the subject of hospitality. 1 Peter 4:9-10 says, "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully, administering God's grace in its various forms."

So not only are we to offer hospitality, we are to do it without grumbling.

Examine your heart the next time God calls upon you to offer that hospitality when you have 15 other things going on, money is tight, and everything seems to be going wrong. That's the test to see if you will put yourself aside and give all you have to others. In this same scripture we are admonished to use the gifts God has given us for the benefit of others. Read further on in this chapter to see what we are to do with our gifts. In short, hospitality is an act of selflessness.

Romans 12:13 says to "share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." This scripture is so clear it really needs no explanation. We are to share whatever we have with any of God's people who are in need. This means food, clothing, finances, time - whatever that person's need - we are to meet it. This scripture is confirmed by 1 John 3:17.

The following scriptures all have to do with our obligation to show hospitality. Please take the time to read them, study them, meditate on them, and when you understand them - practice them.

1 Timothy 5:10
Titus 1:8
Hebrews 13:2
Acts 16:15 & 34
Acts 21:8
Acts 28:2 & 7

Jesus Himself washed the feet of the disciples, thus setting the example for us. In doing this, He, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, showed Himself to be humble and without prejudice in who He showed hospitality to, for He washed the feet of all of the disciples, not just those who were closest to Him. And this He did just before He offered Himself up as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. We, as the ambassadors of His glory, need to always remember that offering hospitality is not an option, it is a command.

As we have traveled, we have discovered that the poorer the environment, church, or country, the more needs the people themselves have - the greater their outpouring of love and hospitality. It is as it was in the scripture with the widow putting her two mites into the offering. These people will give all they have to see that any of God's people who are visiting are comfortable and well looked after, while at the same time meeting the needs of those around them. Very often they put to shame those who have much.

Now, lest anybody think we are complaining about any treatment we have ever received when we have been out on 'the gospel trail,' let me dispel that notion by saying we have been blessed to have been received by some of the most gracious and giving people we have ever met. No, I am simply speaking about observations we have made over the years about hospitality in general.

Whatever your situation or circumstance, you would do well to remember the words Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior spoke whenever you are faced with the blessed task of offering hospitality to someone:

"Whatsoever you do unto the least of these, you do to me."

Think about it!

Please feel free to contact us with any questions about this article.

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