As followers of Christ, we are to show love to those around us in many ways. One way to show the love of Jesus is by practicing biblical hospitality. What is biblical hospitality and how do I practice it? you may be wondering. Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. Here you will get the basics of biblical hospitality along with some resources to where you can dive in and learn more. Also, it’s worth noting that some personality types struggle more with the idea of hospitality, but don’t worry! It’s not just about having people to your home all the time.
Verses about Hospitality
What does the Bible say about hospitality? There are actually several verses in the Bible that talk about hospitality. In fact, it is a command in Scripture to seek to be hospitable (Romans 12:13 ESV). We tend to get so busy with our own lives, that we’re not willing to step out of our comfort zones to think about how we can be hospitable. Even if we wanted to, we don’t have time! However, as we simplify our schedules, we will have more margin in our lives. More time to live out our faith. As the next couple of verses remind us, by serving others it’s like we’re serving Jesus directly, or we may be entertaining angels!
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 ESV
“For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’” Matthew 25:42-45
The next few hospitality Scriptures remind us that we are to do good to all, especially to other Christians. We are to love and serve without complaining. Wouldn’t you love to have the reputation of the woman in 1 Timothy?
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10
“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9
“and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.” 1 Timothy 5:10
Biblical hospitality definition
Whether you want to call it Christian hospitality or biblical hospitality, there is no exact definition mentioned in the Bible. However, we can conclude what it is based on what we read in Scripture. Basically, biblical hospitality is welcoming others, Christian or non-Christian, into our home or sometimes taking the “welcoming” to them, in order to show the love of Jesus. We treat friends and strangers alike, with Christ at the center.
Hospitality in the Bible
The art of hospitality has been diminished in our culture, but in Bible times, hospitality was incredibly important in the culture. However, as we’ve already seen, Christians are commanded to be hospitable. There are several examples of hospitality found in the Bible. For example, in Genesis 18:2-8, Abraham and Sarah were quick to show hospitality to the “men” who came to them. Gideon (Judges 6:11-24) and Manoah (Judges 13:6-20) also served their angel visitors. Isaiah reminds the Israelites that they are to be caring for and helping those in need.
“Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” Isaiah 58:7
Even in the New Testament (Acts 2:42-47), the new Christians were selling their stuff, living in community, and sharing with anyone in need. They ate together, worshipped together, and prayed together. How can we live more like that?
What Does Biblical Hospitality Look Like?
Now that we’ve discussed what Christian hospitality is along with some examples, let’s round up that information into a biblical view of hospitality. As with all things, we need to use the Bible to form our beliefs and convictions. As we’ll see, biblical hospitality looks different than just entertaining others in your home. So, what does it look like? Biblical hospitality:
- Serves with joy. It isn’t entertaining, which focuses on you as the hostess.
- Blesses others. Think about who is the center of attention. Is it you and your home, or is it your guests?
- Does more listening. This may be tough if you’re a talker, but take the time to listen to the needs of others. Steer the conversation toward spiritual things.
- Invites those in need of help or love. It’s easy to have friends over who are like us. We encourage each other. However, with biblical hospitality, we are willing to step out of our comfort zone and invite someone we normally wouldn’t take the time to get to know or encourage.
- Lays aside rejections and grudges. We may get some who say no to our offer, or do something that stings our pride. However, as followers of Christ, we need to forgive and lay aside those hurts in order to continue to minister to others who do need us. Don’t give up if things don’t go well at first.
- Points to Christ. Our hospitality should be pointing others to Christ. It shouldn’t be about us at all.
- Nurtures relationships. Relationship is key in biblical hospitality. We should build quality relationships with others and foster relationships with Christ.
- Serves with joy. Biblical hospitality, as mentioned before, is not about us. Be joyful in your serving, even if you’re feeling awkward.
- Models what God has called us to. Our children are watching, so find ways to show them what it means to serve others.
As moms, unless we prioritize our relationship with God, it can easily fall by the wayside. Learn more about growing closer to God. As we grow closer to Him, we become a better wife and mother as well.
Biblical Hospitality Tips
Remember, practicing biblical hospitality is not about you. However, it does take some effort and planning on your part. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with a spur-of-the-moment invitation to your neighbor for coffee, but most of the time we will need to be more intentional about it. These Christian hospitality tips should help you get started. I’ve also linked some great biblical hospitality books.
- Keep it simple. Have a list of simple meals, desserts, drinks, or snacks that you can easily put together.
- Make a list of potential people to invite to your home or bless in some way. Think about those in your church, neighbors, or others in your community who could use some love or encouragement. Maybe there’s another young woman or mom you could mentor.
- Cover it in prayer. Pray about who you should help or invite and pray before the event. Ask God to give you a listening ear and wisdom to know what to say.
- Intentional conversation. The goal of biblical hospitality is to point others to Christ. What you talk about can do that. Try to move the conversation to spiritual things.
- Read a book about biblical hospitality. The Turquoise Table, Just Open the Door, and The Gospel Comes with a House Key are some options to get you started. I’ve personally read the first two, and they are fantastic!
- Think of small, practical needs. Hospitality doesn’t just need to be in your home. Write an encouraging card, take a meal to someone, offer to babysit, or serve in other ways in your local community.
- Invite others to do something you’re already doing. Maybe you’re heading out for ice cream with your kids. Invite someone to join you. Are you working on a craft project? Invite that elderly widow from your church. Hospitality doesn’t have to be about a meal. Inviting others to join you in an activity is especially great if you’re more introverted . . . then you don’t have to worry so much about talking!
Are you currently practicing biblical hospitality? What scares you the most about serving others in this way? I know that as an introvert, this can be tough for me, but there are many ways to serve others without putting too much pressure on yourself. Let’s be the light of Jesus to those around us!
You may also enjoy these: