What would our hospitality look like if we believed that Jesus’s death on the cross was the measure of God’s compassion for someone? Oh, how we would seek to serve them with the strength that God provides!
I’ve experienced hospitality from people whose hopes were set on God. Their faith in God’s provision caused them to be truly generous and ready to share whatever they had with us—even their own bed. Our friends, who were new acquaintances at the time, heard that our family would be traveling back and forth to their city on a regular basis.
They were eager to share their apartment with us on those weekends. I remember asking my husband, “But they don’t have a spare room, do they?” His reply was simply, “I think they have that figured out.” Our new friends cheerfully gave our family their bedroom while they bunked in with their two boys on a foldout couch. Over those weekends, on several occasions our hostess even commented, “What a blessing for us! We love having you here, and we love bunking with our boys!”
1. Rejoice in Jesus’s provision
We were created in Christ Jesus to walk in good works such as showing hospitality (Eph. 2:10), so we should show hospitality in a manner worthy of God’s call. Jesus supplies the agape love we need, and when our souls are satisfied in him, we overflow in love to others. When we love our neighbors in this way, we imitate God and walk in love as Christ has loved us (Eph. 5:1-2). So rejoice in Jesus’s provision of love, and watch how love freely flows from your home to bless any whom God brings across your doorstep.
True hospitality cannot be anything but God-glorifying. God gets the glory when we serve with the strength he provides.
The righteousness of Christ is our hope, as we’ve all missed the mark in his standards of perfect, cheerful giving in hospitality. The joy of Christ will also be our comfort and our delight.
2. Look to the Lord for your strength
In Nehemiah 8, when Ezra the priest read aloud the Book of the Law to God’s people all morning long, the conviction of their sin pierced their hearts, and they grieved. Every man, woman, and child was weeping. Actually, they were near hysteria. The text says that Nehemiah, Ezra, and all the Levites (priests) had to repeatedly calm them down. What words would comfort such grieving souls who had seen the holiness of God in his perfect law and compared it with their own sinfulness?
Nehemiah 8:10 tells us what Nehemiah said to the people: “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
If the joy of the Lord is the strength of the repentant Israelites, it is true for me, a redeemed child of the Most High. God is not content to merely provide the strength we need for hospitality, but he aims to be our delight as we serve others.
We’re destined for joy forever because of Christ’s exquisite hospitality in opening a way to God through his own body. We can serve others with gladness, knowing that the carrots we peel and the diapers we change are unto the Lord.
3. See that God is able
When we show hospitality in this way, we can see how “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). Our role is to serve with the strength God supplies, and it’s God’s role to do with our service whatever he pleases. He supplies the strength, and in his abundant hospitality he also gives us joy! God’s grace in Christ is for us to enjoy and share with others. When I have this grace in mind, I can see my possessions and others’ needs in light of eternity. What’s a coffee filter, really? What is it when compared to Jesus, who is my lasting possession in heaven?
Excerpt modified from Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home by Gloria Furman copyright ©2013. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org