I’m busy prepping for the weekend’s service. In Matthew 10 Jesus urges us to welcome his disciples and in doing so he tells us that we’re actually receiving him and the Father who sent him. In a culture enriched with the habitual practice of hospitality, Jesus’ statement made a lot of sense. Ours is a different cup of tea all together. We live in an arid environment made parch by our stringent individualism. Hospitality doesn’t come easy to us.
A few weeks ago a new couple joined our community. Lollie and I have a strong philosophy that we can’t be pastors to people we don’t know and we believe knowledge of people will come easier over a plate of food. We told the couple that we’d love to have dinner. The husband replied in a jocular fashion that he now understands that we’re a community that you can only join if you take the pastor to a restaurant. I laughed and then told him that we’re inviting them over to our house. What struck me was that he assumed that a meal had to be in a restaurant – which incidentally is a form of hospitality that’s professionalized.
For the early Christians hospitality was not something relegated to those with the spiritual gift. All people were challenged to do it and without murmuring. Christians who follow Christ will open their houses, it’s as simple as that. I’m also realizing that there’s a huge difference between entertaining and being hospitable. Entertaining is really all about the host and impressing, hospitality is about the guest. What are your thoughts on hospitality?