They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer….Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, Acts 2:42, 46,47
Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13
Now the overseer must be…hospitable. 1 Timothy 3:2
There is something mystically bonding when true hospitality occurs. The more a church becomes building oriented, the more this spiritual activity will atrophy. In a healthy church, hospitality and table fellowship are occurring in families and across families. There is nothing quite like breaking physical bread together while sharing how we have feasted on Jesus, the bread of life.
Hospitality is not entertaining. There is a place for entertaining in life. Entertaining is fun. Entertaining is about having a sparkling house and sparkling food and sparkling activities. Entertainment conjures up images of a candlelit living room with hors d’oevers and a fire in the fireplace and several courses to the meal. That makes my mouth water just thinking about it. But that is not hospitality. That is a party. There is a place for parties.
Hospitality is simple. Hospitality is sharing Christ with each other as we share the food we have. It is keeping the meal simple enough so that the fellowship, not the food, is the focus. It is putting food together so that everyone, including the hostess, can enjoy the time. It is asking questions about the others walk with Christ, his or her understanding of God, or living the Christian life. It is all pitching in to clean up.
What are the barriers to hospitality? Every barrier is in fact a spiritual barrier.
Some do not practice hospitality because they do not think they have a nice enough home or apartment. They would be embarrassed if someone saw how they lived. Their house, they think, is too small or too simple. This perhaps is a temptation for the women among us.
Some Christians do not see hospitality as a priority to spend their time and money on. In addition, for some men, their home is their castle. Having people over is for our wives to worry about. Having people over does take time and money.
But it is a biblical command for both men and women. And hospitality is not just about food. It is about spiritual communion. It’s about providing spiritual rest. It’s about asking good questions over good food. It’s about giving our children time to interact with other adults.
As we grow into this new building, let us continue to grow in the spiritual ministry of hospitality. And let those who are especially given to this ministry know how important they are to the body!