Hospitality in a Cold World
Be kindly affectionate to one another . . . , given to hospitality. â€”Romans 12:10,13
The word for hospitality in the Scripture means â€œa love of strangers.â€ Something that does not really come naturally to me. I know it is my own tendency to avoid taking the initiative to meet and befriend others. My heart naturally can be cold and unreceiving. But by prayer through the word of God, hospitality, I have witnessed, breaks down barriers and build bridges to other people. It can make strangers and stragglers feel welcome.
Inviting someone to your home is an ideal way to start serving in this way. I have appreciated it when people have done this for me in the past, especially when I was new to an area. And when you invite new friends into your home, use your culinary skill and eat with them (Acts 2:46, 20:11; 1 Cor 16:19) and then take the time to pray with them before they depart. They will appreciate it more than you know. Show appreciation to leaders, hurting families and teachers by inviting them into your home. There are many wandering, isolated persons who need this ministry of hospitality. Consider how much you appreciate it when, perhaps in those rare occassions, others have done this for you. I think human beings all appreciate this and it is a means God uses to minister the gospel through you. When living overseas, I was especially struck with the natural tendency of Chinese people to be hospitible to people. Many Christians could learn from them.
You would be surprised at how many people have no family close by, and how many have no real friends. Inviting them into your life and home is Christ expressing His love for them through you. Your life and your words can minister the gospel, but you need never fret over actually persuading them ... that is the Lord's work. People in this fragmented world often feel despair, are lonely and many imagine that others hate them. Let them know that you don't by sharing a meal with them and showing your big-heartedness toward them. If you have sound theology and wish to share it, be a friend to people first. You will be surprised at how much more easy their heart will melt before the truth when you are first a friend to them.
Table fellowship is an outstanding pulpit from which to teach God's truths and disciple others without even consciously knowing it. This is the ideal way God will use you to minister to others through you that they may grow in grace. It is way too easy to live an isolated life in this era. It is a great temptation for me personally. But this is one means that your local church can become a friendly place. This is a word especially to you navel-gazing Presbyterians out there and a way to put your doctrine into practice.
Pray for us at this ministry that we would be ever increasingly warm-hearted in the truth of the gospel. It is a difficult time we live in and we need your prayer support. Your prayers are the greatest way you can minister to us.
p.s. we want to extend great thanks to all of you who generously helped us raise $5K last month for the Monergism.com website upgrade (coming soon) By the grace of God we were able to raise the entire amount in less than one month. We thank God for you.