Scriptures to read on your own about hospitality: Gen 18:1-8; 2 Kings 4:8-17; 1 Tim 5:3,9,10; Matt 5:46-48; 25:31-46; Luke 10:25-42; Rom 16:23; Gal 6:9,10; Heb 13:2; 3 John 1-8.
After reading those scriptures ask yourself questions like: In what sorts of ways was hospitality shown? (You might be surprised at what we have labeled "hospitality," but really, it's nothing more than service.) To whom was it shown? How does God view hospitality? How does the Bible describe people who show hospitality? What does Jesus say about how important showing hospitality is?
If you’ve done that little exercise, you undoubtedly see that showing hospitality is an essential trait of a Christian. Maybe it’s time to ask myself some questions: First and foremost, what are some steps I need to take to prepare my heart for an attitude of service? That is where it all begins. Things will come much more easily if my heart is right.
“It’s my duty,” may be true, but will not help you get the task done in the joyful and generous way God requires of us. “The Lord loves a cheerful giver,” not one who hates every moment of his service. So be practical and honest—if that is your problem, how do you go about fixing it? Humility and gratitude will go a long way on this one.
Once you have that problem licked, it’s simply a matter of figuring out exactly what to do. So the next question is, what are some steps I can take in my home to make my guests comfortable?
Before you begin any project, especially spiritual ones, remember to pray for God’s help and guidance. For some reason, this always seems to be the last step for us—the one we use when things fall apart or do not go as we expected. Don’t put the cart before the horse.
The next step is to seek advice from others who have already shown themselves a worthy example of hospitality. All of them will be more than happy to share their ideas with you, and that’s exactly what we are told to do in Titus 2, another very practical piece of scripture.
So now that we are on the road, here are some suggestions for showing hospitality. There are more ways than you realize.
1. Invite visitors in the worship assembly to your home for a meal OR take them out to dinner if they need to get on down the road.
2. If you know ahead of time that visitors are coming from a long distance for a gospel meeting or extended study at your home congregation, invite them to stay in your home—don’t wait to be asked. (And I will add to Patricia’s suggestion—even if you find out that night, invite them! We ended up with two gospel preachers in our home for five nights on a last second whim one time, but we have never regretted it. They were gracious enough to know we were not exactly prepared and never once complained about anything! dw)
3. Have people over for a sing or a potluck. If your home is too small for the whole congregation, divide it up and do it once a month until you get them all.
4. Have a family over for dinner, or even just coffee and dessert. While we all want to do a little extra for guests, it does not have to be elaborate.
5. Have college students in your home for a home-cooked meal. They are usually satisfied with just about anything and keep each other entertained.
6. Have a group of teenage girls over for a study and sleep-over, yes, even if there is no teenage girl in your home. Show them that older people are worth knowing and have something to offer, and then listen well to their concerns and ideas to prove it.
7. If someone needs a temporary home, invite them to live with you.
8. Show kindness to strangers outside the faith, especially when you see them in distress. This may not even involve a meal, just a ride home or the use of your phone. You never know but what it may be their opportunity to hear the gospel.
9. Have several widows in your home, or several singles. They are often left out because we tend to think in terms of couples and families, particularly if that’s what we are.
10. Now that you have seen several ideas, make a list of your own, one that suits the home you have and your own resources. While hospitality in the Bible always included a meal, there are many other ways to show it. What it’s really all about is filling a need.
Challenge yourself to do one or more of these this year. Look through those verses at the top if you haven’t already. Be creative. And use the gifts God has given you (your home, your cooking ability, your income) for His glory and the service of others.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 1Pet 4:8-10.