Friday, June 17, 2011
I've been travelling a fair bit lately, and as a result have experienced a lot of hospitality. In the vast majority of cases it has been fantastic - in fact many times, one of the highlights of my trip is the time I get to hang around with people, in their homes, over meals etc.
I think as Christians we hold, and need to continue to hold hospitality in very high regard. Being hospitable is a characteristic required of overseers in both 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:8. It is something we are all commanded to do in Heb 13:2 (because you never know who you might be looking after!) and we are to do it without grumbling (1Pet 4:9).
Implicit in these exhortations is the fact that hospitality will be costly - and of course, that is reality. You'll need to pick up your guest from the airport or the station. They'll probably need driving around somewhere which will interrupt what you normally do. You might need to rearrange bedrooms for the duration and of course there'll be extra washing, cleaning and feeding to do.
But its interesting, it seems to me apart from the comment in Heb 13:2, the benefits of hospitality aren't much spoken about in the Bible. But there are many benefits.
You and your family will get to make a new friend. Most guests are usually really interesting people who really appreciate time with other people rather than sitting by themselves in a hotel room. My kids still have very fond memories of visitors we've had over the year. One particular visitor (who will remain nameless - but think England, well known, evangelism course) has entered our family folklore with regard to his enthusiastic brownie consumption.
It is a great way to expand your horizons. You learn many things about the world we live in and its different cultures by hosting a guest from a far off land.
If you're in a situation where there are kids in your house, its a great way to model kindness and generosity to them. When they see Mum and Dad being open and welcoming to guests - it is sure to rub off later in life.
So - be hospitable!
(Today's photo is me high up in the Andes outside Santiago in Chile - where I enjoyed wonderful hospitality!)