Jen Wilkin wrote a great essay about the difference between entertaining and being hospitable. Please, PLEASE read it.
We are called to be hospitable. It is a biblical command.
- Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2)
- Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:9)
- Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Romans 12:13)
- But hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. (Titus 1:8)
- And having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. (1 Timothy 5:10)
- Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isaiah 58:7)
- Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, (1 Timothy 3:2)
- And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, (Acts 2:46)
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I knew a woman who was the most hospitable person I'd ever met. Neither one of us was saved. I am now and she still isn't so we're not talking biblical standards here, but still, her loving kindness is ever an example to me. Her house was open to one and all. Jen Wilkin wrote,
Orderly house or not, hospitality throws wide the doors. It offers itself, expecting nothing in return. It keeps no record of its service, counts no cost, craves no thanks. It is nothing less than the joyous, habitual offering of those who recall a gracious table set before them in the presence of their enemies, of those who look forward to a glorious table yet to come. It is a means by which we imitate our infinitely hospitable God.That was her. The piles of clutter tottered high and were thrown to this corner and that when more people piled in. The table was moved out from the wall, then moved again with a leaf added when more people stopped over. The larder was often bare-bones but the beans and bread was just as tasty as if it had been lobster and caviar. The tea kettle whistled when someone needed sympathy, guitars were broken out when we were joyful and wanted to sing, kids were always included, and there was always laughter. It was convivial and sweet there, always.
No one minded the towels on the bathroom floor, the crumbs on the table or the dishes in the sink. What I remember is the laughter, friendliness, warmth. It was a bright and safe place to berth when seeking refuge in a cold-cruel world.
Jen Wilkin again,
Hospitality involves setting a table that makes everyone feel comfortable. It chooses a menu that allows face time with guests instead of being chained to the cooktop. It picks up the house to make things pleasant but doesn’t feel the need to conceal evidences of everyday life. It sometimes sits down to dinner with flour in its hair. It allows the gathering to be shaped by the quality of the conversation rather than the cuisine. Hospitality shows interest in the thoughts, feelings, pursuits and preferences of its guests. It is good at asking questions and listening intently to answers. Hospitality focuses attention on others.
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perfectly hospitable in heaven, when others may come to my room Jesus had prepared for me and I can host them in the name of Jesus in perfect love.
Until that time, I'm not perfect, but as the hospitable season approaches I hope I can display the same loving openness that my friend did. Even more, I'm thankful for the example of generations of warm and loving Christians who have done for my ancestors in the faith. Peter stayed many days in Joppa with Simon the Tanner (nearly three years). (Acts 9:43). Saul/Paul stated with Judas in Damascus on Straight Street. (Acts 9:11). Lydia urged Paul and ensemble to stay at her house,
And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. (Acts 16:15).
"her [Lydia's] faith soon worked by love; and by the fruits of righteousness which followed upon it" (Gill's Exposition).
Part 2 here...