“Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest.” Jesus, a resting place for the needy, overworked, lonely people of this world, is the ultimate example of hospitality.
While, yes, He walked on this earth during a time where hospitality was highly valued in society, this calling didn’t end with His ascension. However, it seems as time has stretched on, the culture we live in doesn’t always hold hospitality in high regard.
Caring Network is a pro-life organization based in DuPage County that has been providing free pregnancy services since 1981. Our six centers offer women facing unexpected pregnancies a place to turn for assistance, compassion, and care. We believe hospitality is a calling that can be lived out not only at home and with friends but also at work!
To find out how you can get involved with us in being hospitable beyond your home, give us a call.
WHAT IS HOSPITALITY?
When we consider Biblical hospitality, what comes to mind? Perhaps we think of the story of Mary and Martha—how they opened their home to Jesus and provided a place for Him to rest and to eat. Maybe we consider the countless times people and families provided sustenance to weary travelers and soldiers throughout the Old Testament. Or even our first thought about hospitality may be the opening of our homes and offering a meal to others. What exactly is hospitality? And does it consist of aspects outside of the home?
If we correlate hospitality with having a home, we might not be able to connect the dots. Looking at the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of hospitable, we see:
- Given to generous and cordial reception of guests
- Promising or suggesting a generous and friendly welcome
- Offering a pleasant or sustaining environment
When considering the word ‘guest’ we might only correlate that to somebody entering our home. However, one of the definitions of guest is: “a person to whom hospitality is extended.”
JESUS ON HOSPITALITY
Let’s take some time to look specifically at the life of Jesus. Many of the stories we have about His life are during the years of His public ministry—seemingly, life on the road.
Is it possible to extend hospitality to a ‘guest’ outside of the home? The life of Jesus says yes, absolutely. In His days of ministry, Jesus offered the home of His heart to both stranger and alien, to injured and broken, to woman and child alike.
Being human Himself, Jesus knew how much people yearned for space to be themselves and to not pretend anymore—how they wished they could drop the mask and have somebody really just be with them. How often do we crave that authentic connection and a truly listening ear? Jesus offered that wherever He went. He was welcoming in and of Himself. It wasn’t just His abode or a special meal (although He definitely did feed people!) that made people feel cared for and loved. The personhood of Jesus exuded (and still exudes) the art of hospitality.
HOW DO WE PRACTICE HOSPITALITY?
So, as 21st-century followers of Christ, what does this mean for us? How do we practice hospitality beyond our homes? If we draw on the life of Jesus and on stories from the Bible, we can come up with a few ways to be a hospitable people:
- Be present through doing “nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
- Active listening by being “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).
- Have encouraging conversations and “do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
- Meet physical needs, for “what good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:14-17).
- Go the extra mile and “give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42).
When we practice hospitality as a spiritual discipline, we show people that they matter and that they are not alone. This is an extraordinarily pro-life way to live!
We know that Jesus set the perfect example to follow in loving others. We desire to mold our lives, our homes, and our workplace around his value of life and display of hospitality. Partnering with organizations like Caring Network who are on the front lines of championing life is a great way to practice hospitality. At Caring Network, we have needs and openings for prayer partners, volunteers, and various other support roles.
You can find out more by contacting us today!
- Bible Gateway. NIV. Retrieved from: https://www.biblegateway.com/
- Merriam-Webster. Guest. Retrieved from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/guest
- Merriam-Webster. Hospitable. Retrieved from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hospitable