Plunged into the middle of Paul’s exhortation of how we Christians should be living in Romans 12 are these words in verse 13, “pursue hospitality”. It is as much of a definite command as ; be constant in prayer in verse 12, love one another in verse 10, or bless those who persecute you in verse 14.
Why does practicing hospitality get relegated to the bottom of the list of God things to do? As I looked at this recently, I was challenged in new and deeper ways and here is why…
Hospitality must be a discipline that is theologically driven. Our practice of hospitality should be drawn from the very heart of God. Think of the amazing hospitality of God. How, as recorded in Genesis 1, God went about preparing a place in creation in order to welcome His honored guest—man. God, in His very nature is fundamentally hospitable.
Think our Lord Jesus, as He moved among earth people, again and again practiced hospitality. While preaching to the multitude, He said, ” We must feed them”. He gave invitation after invitation, (and still does today) saying, “Come unto Me”. He tells the story of the father welcoming his wayward son home with the party of all parties. He said to Zacchaeus, “I am going to your house today”. He knocks at the door of our heart because He wants to sit down with us and spend time together.
As welcome is fundamentally in the nature of God so it should be in us. As He is so very hospitable to us, so we should be to others. Isn’t grace really the unearned hospitality of a loving God? Isn’t it the outstretched arms of our Savior? How can we not be hospitable? As we invite others into our homes, we reenact the divine love we have received And our practice of hospitality will grow us into the likeness and desire of our Lord Jesus.
What blessings we miss when we fail to obey this command! So fling open the door, cook the fatted calf (or the chicken), prepare your part of creation, and welcome with the open arms of Jesus those who come inside. After all,one day we will gather around the Table of all tables and feast upon the very presence of our Lord…. so why don’t we practice some now?