Our family has recently undergone a lot of transition. We moved into a new home. My husband started a new job. Our two kids started at a new preschool. And we’re expecting our third child in just two months! In the midst of it all, God has been calling us into gospel hospitality.
Hospitality is something that all Christians are called to; in fact, it’s a way of life for the believer that includes loving your neighbor, taking care of the “least of these,” and according to the gospel of Luke, welcoming into your home those who can’t repay you (Matthew 25:40, Luke 14:12-14).
So while we’ve always strived be hospitable, God has made it clear that he wants us to become more intentional about this. My husband’s new job as an attending physician has (for now) afforded him more time at home than he had as a resident. And our new house is providing opportunities to reach out to new neighbors and those in closer proximity to our community.
But just because we have time and opportunity doesn’t mean we’re overnight hospitality pros. In fact, we’re struggling. It’s much easier to just invite our friends over--friends who we can share effortless conversation with, friends with little kids who expect the meal to include a heavy dose of chaos, friends who overlook the moving boxes in the hall and lack of a dining table as we (im)patiently await furniture delivery. It’s harder to invite new people--those who we don’t usually socialize with, who may have political or religious views different ours, who may not ever invite us into their homes.
Gospel hospitality—an invitation to relationship--doesn’t require a model home, professional cooking skills, or a completely open calendar. Willingness and faith are the only requirements. You can be hospitable by providing a meal to a family in need, befriending a grumpy neighbor who keeps to himself, inviting conversation with the grocery clerk who looks different than you. But don’t stop there! Let God show you who needs your care.
There’s great joy in being hospitable. First, God provides his strength in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:10). When I feel unequipped to do what God has called me to, his Holy Spirit shows up and helps me. He changes my heart and gives me a new attitude. He reminds me that in my most unlovable moments, he loves me anyway.
Second, obeying God results in peace. This peace is outside of circumstance; it’s a state of rest and ease experienced when I’ve obeyed God’s Word, knowing that his ways are always better than mine.
Third, there’s fruit! I have full confidence that God will provide opportunities for gospel conversation, evangelism, witness, and discipleship when I follow his gentle prompting to love people. Just now, a new neighbor to whom we delivered some cookies texted, she’d love to get together some time! Thank you, Lord!
I’m hopeful God will use our resources to encourage his body, bring non-believers into the Kingdom, and grow my own faith. Amidst the polarizing political climate and numerous displays of hatred in this present age, let’s look for how God is showing us Christians how to live at peace with our enemies, share our abundance, and love without hesitation. Paul challenges in Romans 12:13-18:
“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Live in harmony with one another.
Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.
Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
May it be so!
Jessica Harper is NCF’s Marketing and Communications Manager and is growing her hospitality outreach in the Kansas City area.
More good ideas: Read how Christian students on a university campus connected with other students—during the pandemic—through hospitality.