Previously, Giving and Serving fall under the broader heading of Biblical Hospitality: an attitude of the heart (love) expressed through a lifestyle of giving and serving. It’s the giving of one’s time, talents, and resources. It’s the giving of oneself. We’re never more like God than when we’re extending hospitality, but hospitable acts of giving and serving are usually not easy and almost never convenient, so why bother?
Hospitality literally defines Our Lord; and our Hospitable God wants each of His followers to be like Him — um, hospitable! Unfortunately, acts of Biblical Hospitality generally require a degree of personal sacrifice regarding our time, talents, and resources. And who in the world likes to make sacrifices? Before we creators and dreamers start whining, we need to hush up and face the truth about hospitality:
- If we wait until we feel like extending hospitality; or until we have more
time; or get some extra cash — if we wait until everything is just right — we will NEVER be hospitable!
- We are commanded to be hospitable.
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace….” (1 Peter 4:9-10 NIV)
- Hospitality is the supernatural expression of God’s love.
Love is the essence of God. “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” (1 John 4:16 NLT) And acts of hospitality are how we express God’s love in a practical way. In essence, the practice of Biblical Hospitality gives hands and feet to God’s love; meeting needs, whatever they may be, with whatever we have to offer.
Interestingly, we get the word hospitality from the Latin hospitalis. We also take our idea of “hospital” from this Latin word, which is wholly appropriate: a hospital is a place of healing and restoration, and that’s the true focus of hospitality. Hence …
- When we practice Biblical Hospitality, opening up our hearts and homes to others, we become God’s conduits of healing and restoration. Through us, God is able to pour on “the oil and wine” for weary and hurting people. (Just as the Good Samaritan did, in Luke 10:34.) We become His hands extended, and our homes become mini-hospitals, each an oasis of rest and refreshing in a “parched and dry” world.
- Being hospitable is therapeutic and beneficial. Leading a God-centered life with a focus on others leaves no room for discouragement — which plagues most of us creators and dreamers. Plus, when we serve and meet the needs of others, a most unusual, supernatural phenomenon occurs: God meets our needs and blesses us. It’s a win-win scenario.
Want to stay encouraged? Want to live a joyful life, even if you’re still struggling to reach your goals, and have yet to realize your dreams? Then practice Biblical Hospitality. When you meet someone’s needs, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you were God’s divine instrument of blessing others. You’ll know the personal fulfillment that comes from following the example of Christ — touching people and making a real difference in the world, one life at a time.
Will it be convenient? Probably not. But don’t complain. Instead, hush up and be hospitable! “Always be eager to practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:13 NLT)