Practicing Hospitality: Chapter 2

Wel­come back for our chap­ter 2 dis­cus­sion on Prac­tic­ing Hos­pi­tal­ity: The Joy of Serv­ing Others by Pat Ennis & Lisa Tat­lock. This is part 2 of an eight week dis­cus­sion on this book. For part 1, visit here. We are so glad you decided to join us! I will once again start by giving a brief recap of the chap­ter fol­lowed by a few dis­cus­sion ques­tions which you can use to lead in shar­ing what stood out to you in this chap­ter in the com­ments below. Even if you are not par­tic­i­pat­ing in the study, I encour­age you to keep reading…Chapter 2 focused on Hos­pi­tal­ity & Strangers.


This chapter highlights both the Old & New Testament commands to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 says, “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” The very core of understanding this biblical command  is understanding that this command is a practical way to visualize our love for God and for His people. Our foundation for practicing hospitality must be found in the truth that God’s remarkable grace has been demonstrated to us (Romans 1-11), and thus we should witness our transformed lives by showing brotherly love to others.

Hospitality is:

  • Proverbs 14:31 – a means of honoring and loving Christ by meeting the needs of the poor
  • 1 Peter 4:9 – to be practiced without grumbling or complaining, or thought of reward.
  • Hebrews 13:1-2  – literally “a love for strangers” – treating fellow believers (Rom. 12:3, 1 Tim. 3:2), widows, orphans (1 Tim. 5:1-16), unbelievers (Luke 5:29), the poor and needy (Luke 14:12-14), missionaries (Matt. 10:9-11; Luke 10:7-16), foreigners, immigrants, refugees (Gen. 18:1-22; Lev. 25:35), and even enemies (Rom. 12:20) as if they were your very own family.
  • Proverbs 19:17 – helping the poor, understanding that the Lord will repay you!
  • Meeting the basic needs of others – and can include preparing food, providing lodging, giving physical protection, sharing material possessions, offering a place of rest, extending love and encouragement, sharing the gospel and spiritual teaching or encouragement.

The authors then proceed to give four points in summary of the Old Testament understanding of hospitality:

  1. Hospitality was viewed as a duty – considered a responsibility or obligation.
  2. Hospitality was offered sincerely, earnestly extended from the heart.
  3. Hospitality was inclusive of all people – friends, strangers and enemies.
  4. Hospitality was mutually respected, meaning that guests reciprocated the hospitality with a permanent and loyal friendship.

Do you and I view hospitality with the same kind of commitment?

Finally, the chapter is concluded with this powerful statement: “The most important consideration is that hospitality is a reflection of God’s nature. God is a welcoming God. He pursues and extends relationship, meeting needs and providing safety. As we model a life of invitation, employing our resources to meet the needs of others, we provide the world with a picture of a much greater spiritual truth – God invites all to his safe embrace.”


I was greatly impacted by this chapter. My eyes were opened to see that God purposefully designed hospitality to be an extension of His love for all people, not just those I am comfortable with. I easily focus on extending hospitality to friends and family, and although that is definitely a significant aspect of it, I did not realize how much emphasis the Scripture puts on extending it to the poor, needy, and other strangers. It is a simple way for me to extend Christ’s love and make my home a center of evangelism. It really means stepping outside my comfort zone because it is clearly mandated to extend it to all varieties of strangers! It requires humility, self-denial, and truly putting on the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus hung out with the lowliest of men and as a result He won many to Himself. We are commanded to invite those who cannot repay us (Luke 14:12-14)!

I love the followed definitions of hospitality given by the ladies interviewed in this chapter: “A welcoming spirit to open your home and share what the Lord has given you with anyone he brings your way: friends, family, neighbors, or someone you just met. Meeting the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of our guests in an atmosphere of warmth and love. The ultimate goal of Christian hospitality is furthering the kingdom; in other words, will my behaviors encourage others to know Christ? Will more people be in heaven because God worked through me?”

What an important call to show brotherly love by practicing hospitality! Remember...”entertaining focuses on having a beautiful table decor or preparing gourmet food. Biblical hospitality is a demonstration of love. Food and other elements are merely tools used to express our love for people. Our motivation for being hospitable is a response to God’s work in our lives.”


We will con­tinue this book next time, Monday, February 22, with chap­ter 3: Hos­pi­tal­ity & Family. If you are inter­ested in join­ing us, please do. There is still time. Order your copy today here!


I am inter­ested in hear­ing what you took away from this chap­ter. Feel free to post com­ments below or write your thoughts on your blog (and come back and post the link in the com­ments). No need to share any­thing pro­found, just what­ever stood out to you. Here are a few ques­tions to get you started:

1. How was your definition of hospitality re-defined after reading this chapter?
2. How can you begin to switch gears from focusing on “entertaining” to truly demonstrating Biblical love?
3. How can you begin now to start including a variety of “strangers” into your hospitality practices?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

12 Responses to Practicing Hospitality: Chapter 2

  1. Jessica February 19, 2009 at 4:18 pm #

    I’ve posted my thoughts on this chapter on my blog:

    It’s been good and thought-provoking.

  2. Ashley Wells February 17, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    Again, I posted about this chapter on my blog, This book has been so amazing so far!


  3. Laura February 17, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    I loved the focus of this chapter – strangers! I’ve always wanted my home to be a place of ministry with open doors for others but too often I have my doors closed! I also appreciated the reminder of the difference between entertaining and hospitality. I want to be prepared to welcome people into my home at any time. I think there is a practical side of this – preparedness!

  4. Sandra February 17, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    My favorite quotes from this chapter are, “Food and other elements are merely tools used to express our love for people” and “biblical hospitality is simply ‘love in action’.”

    I began to think about other tools used to express our love for people, specifically strangers. Although most of us rarely have strangers in our homes, we do meet strangers every day. The mom and her kids at the park, the checker at the grocery store, the new face on your pew at church. The tools we use to show hospitality to these strangers includes a smile, kind words, appreciation… anything that shows “love in action.”

    What’s amazing is how easy these acts of hospitality are! Don’t have to clean house, don’t have to cook, don’t have to clean up after! Just show love!

  5. Hannah February 17, 2009 at 8:36 am #

    This chapter made me realize one way that I’m blessed – because of my upbringing, I don’t confuse entertainment with hospitality. Sure I go out of my way to clean my house and plan a nice meal when company is expected, but I am happy to have people over anytime under almost any circumstances, and don’t stress too terribly much about externals. On the other hand, I only really extend this to people I feel comfortable with – family and close friends mostly. I’m constantly bemoaning everyone’s busy schedules, because I crave company, but have a very narrow focus. I’m coming to realize that I need to step out of my comfort zone and extend my definition of hospitality to people I’m not that familiar with or that comfortable around. Also, I need to realize that hospitality isn’t just something I’m doing for me, but that I should put the focus on other people. And I shouldn’t just think about socializing but on using every opportunity to be a witness for Christ. I’m not sure how to go about doing this, beyond trying to introduce myself to more people at church and other places, and trying to be more friendly instead of shutting down because I’m shy. I also need to be more generous with my resources, although I struggle with this because my husband is not on the same page as I’m trying to be with regards to hospitality or generosity, and I feel like I need to respect his wishes. More to pray about :)

  6. Aja February 16, 2009 at 3:30 pm #

    Thanks again for hosting this book study! I would have never have read this book otherwise and it’s been great food for thought. I blogged out it here:

  7. Cindee Pate February 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    I especially liked Fred Wight’s comment that “guests were viewed as sent by God” and “hospitality therefore became a sacred duty.” Where before hospitality was something I would do mainly for enjoyment of fellowship, I now want to “pursue it” for those of more need. Balance is always important!

  8. Melissa February 16, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    Along with Traci, I feel like I don’t have any close friends. I also long for the same kind of community. It is just one excuse after another for me – we live too far away – no will want to drive so far, my kids are sick, I’m too busy, when things settle down, when the weather gets nicer and on and on it goes. Not only is reading the chapter encouraging to me, but I also love the little bit of accountability I have with returning to this book study discussion.
    Hospitality re-defined for me = it is not about the food, the presentation, or actually having people come to my house, it is my motive behind the action. How do I know if I am making people feel welcome or not? How do I know if they felt the love of Christ through me? I suppose I need to pray and allow the Lord to show me.

  9. Lisa February 16, 2009 at 8:44 am #

    You won an award on my blog. :)

  10. Brandi February 16, 2009 at 8:31 am #

    I have been enjoying your blog for quite some time though I have never commented before. I have a 7 year-old and a 21 month-old so reading your family and food posts have helped me in so many ways and reminded me that I am not the only one with the same concerns. I love your site so much I posted it on my own blog roll at Check it out when you have a spare minute.

    I also enjoy your christian posts as I find it hard to find other young women with such a desire for the Lord. You and some of the other ladies who leave comments inspire me to become even better aquainted with God. I have ordered this book and look forward to following along with you and the others during this study. I pray your upcoming birth. What a gift from God!


  11. Traci Best February 16, 2009 at 5:31 am #

    When I read about the first church my heart actually longs for that kind of community. I attend a mega-church where I have been a member for seven years. I have a ton of aquaintences, a LOT of friends…but no close relationships. I have tried to form them but they always seem to fail eventually in the deepness department. I long for the day when ‘time’ isn’t a factor! Hospitality is one of God’s tools to help us bless others…but also to bless us in return!