A Call to Practice Hospitality

Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last. - C.T. Studd

“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.” – Practicing Hospitality by Lisa Tatlock & Pat Ennis

God has beautifully designed each one of us to be His Ambassadors…his hands and feet to carry His love to those around us. His Great Commission (Matt. 18:20) was given to every one of us, young and old, every mother, father, and child. It is not limited to those He calls overseas. There is a harvest field ripe within our own back yards, be it the country or the city. It is a lost and dying world out there. Nor is the family an obstacle for ministry. The family is our vehicle for ministry. Together, our various giftings can be utilized, whether young or old, to minister to others of various backgrounds, ages, and lifestyles. To be devoted in our day and age to mission minded living takes focused intentionality. We have to prayerfully cut back in our schedules. We have to get a glimpse of the greater Kingdom purpose of our stay on this earth. We have to see that cultivating a hospitable life is a command for every believer.

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 19:17helping 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.

Ultimately, hospitality is not limited to a space or time. It matters not how large your home is or how generous your table settings. It is rather a lifestyle of generosity. It asks with each purchase: “can this be used to bless others?” When we evaluate our budget and spending, it asks: “How can we live more simply so we can have extra means to pour love on others?” It steps back at the beginning of each week and instead of focusing on ourselves, it starts by asking: “Who can I bless this week? What is one practical way I could minister to another?” The more we plant these thoughts and seeds, the more they will become a passion of our hearts. And in this process, we will be storing up treasures in heaven rather than on this moth infested earth.

Cultivating a lifestyle of generosity ignores perfection and entertaining. As Pat Ennis says, “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 have been recipients of such merciful grace through Christ’s work on the cross, and thus practicing hospitality and generosity is an outpouring of love and the joy that we have experienced as partakers of God’s grace. It is an overflow. Thus our focus should not be on the perfect meal or presentation, but on letting others see a glimpse of Christ in our hearts.

Let us start today and pray for hearts of love and enthusiasm for catching Christ’s call to be hospitable. Roadblocks and fear can be overcome when we humbly offer our hands, feet, and homes to the Lord’s use. He will surely bless it!

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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.

10 Responses to A Call to Practice Hospitality

  1. Jen April 10, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Hi Lindsay!
    Thank you for sharing this series on hospitality this month! I’m very passionate about hospitality and am currently reading the book, Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way of Love. Though some of the theology doesn’t fit in with my more reformed theology, the practical outworkings and teaching in this book is life-changing.

    I write about hospitality a lot on my blog, http://theartisanhome.org and am currently doing a collaborative series with several guest bloggers on Hospitality Around the World. Feel free to take a look at some of the inspiring stories that we’re all sharing there!

    Jen Harris

  2. Elizabeth April 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    Important post about an important topic. Thanks for sharing this series.

  3. Mandy Pena April 7, 2011 at 2:31 am #

    I noticed you used the quote by CT Studd on your post…Just thought you might like to read the entire poem.

    Only One Life

    By Charles Thomas Studd, Missionary to China, India, and Africa

    Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way;
    Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;
    Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
    Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgment seat;
    Only one life,’ twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
    Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave;
    Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
    Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;
    Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score;
    When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say;
    Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
    Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
    Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;
    Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
    Only one life, “twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say, “Thy will be done”;
    And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say ’twas worth it all”;
    Only one life,’ twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

  4. Lisa April 6, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    Lindsay, wow… another challenging post. You… I mean, the Lord via Lindsay has challenged me again! I need to grow so much in this area. Thank you for being an empty vessel for the Lord to pour Himself into. God bless you!

  5. Lisa Grace April 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    This is beautiful! I love that hospitality is not about perfection, but about generosity of heart.

  6. Lacey Wilcox April 6, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    I needed this. Far too often, I’m guilty of thinking that practicing hospitality requires me to have extra money. So wrong. I love that you pointed out it’s so much more a matter of the heart and mind.
    Thank you!

  7. Jami April 6, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    What a beautiful reminder! I read the Practicing Hospitality book last summer and it opened my eyes to a side of hospitality I had never seen before. A side that isn’t focused on us or our talents but rather bringing glory to God and sharing Christ. :)

    Jami @intentionally living

  8. Becky April 6, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    Thank you for sharing this thought. I have always wanted to create a home where anyone was welcome… I’ve lost this simple dream in the bills, time and excuses that “my house isn’t big enough or pretty enough.” Thanks for reminding me of hospitality as a ministry and re-kindling my dream!

  9. Allie Thomas April 6, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    Hospitality is such a great way to share Christ’s love with others. I think it gets forgotten a lot as a form of outreach. A good way to do it is by hosting lunches after church services in your house. Sharing food with others, especially in this economy, can make a huge difference. We have to see be hospitable just as we were hosting Jesus! (Matthew 25:40).

  10. Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} April 6, 2011 at 4:19 am #

    I love this post! The idea of a “lifestyle of generosity” despite your means is wonderful. I grew up in a household like this; my parents are the most generous people I know and are always opening their doors lovingly to others, especially those in need. It is a lifestyle I want to duplicate now that I have my own home. Thank you for this, Lindsay.