Christian Living

The Art of Biblical Hospitality


Jessie Sharp July 08, 2020
Back to Blog

Hospitality. I’ve heard this word my whole life. It’s usually associated with Martha Stewart, Better Homes and Gardens, crockpots, vacuum cleaners, and, of course, good food. I can still remember the insane rush of activity that always followed when my mom announced that company was coming over. Bathrooms were cleaned, dirty dishes put away, and delicious casseroles put in the oven (my mom can make even casseroles delicious). I thought that having a clean home and good food to offer your guests was what hospitality was all about. While these things are essential elements of hospitality, I believe our culture has developed a misconstrued view of biblical hospitality. 

 

We can all agree that our society has shifted away from the normalcy of hospitality, especially given current global events. Even before COVID-19 changed our daily way of living, home was seen as a safe place for us to decompress, be ourselves, and have “me time.” We chose to see people out at coffee shops, church, or class. With such recent emphasis on social distancing, sometimes even that is not possible. We have a skewed image in our minds of what hospitality is, but let me just say, it doesn’t always require a perfect casserole recipe.

 

“Hospitality is the art of making others feel comfortable.” 

 

I heard this definition once, and I love it. It’s not that hospitality is the art of “an immaculate home and perfect cooking.” It’s not that hospitality is the art of “always knowing just what to say,” or “being a professional party planner.” It’s merely making others feel comfortable.

 

I believe that hospitality is something we are all called to as Christians. We are the literal embodiment of what Jesus has done for us, and are told to “love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) 

 

What is our first duty as followers of Jesus? In Matthew 18, we see that “Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” We are called to share the message of the gospel with others. Our motivation to host people goes beyond building a reputation for having the coolest hangout place. It’s to care for people around us and to show them the saving love of Jesus. When you approach hospitality that way, a lot of the superficial qualities fall away. 

 

Maybe the way to help that exchange student at your church feel most comfortable is to welcome them into your home; messy kitchen, pet hair, dirty laundry, and all. 

 

Maybe the best way to help your non-believer coworker feel comfortable is to invite them over for frozen pizza and good conversation. 

 

Maybe the best way to help your new small group member feel comfortable is to invite them to a virtual movie night with your friends.  

 

Hospitality, and the purpose behind it, is not limited by your resources or skills. I am such a firm believer that anyone can be a host or hostess, no matter who or where they are, or what the social distancing guidelines are in their state. Hospitality is an others-focused practice, and it can be done in person or virtually. You only need people to make it happen.

 

We call it practicing hospitality, which implies that we start at ground zero, and the more we do it, the better we become at it. Please don’t place a burden on yourself to get it right the first time. Or the second time. Or even the third or fourth. Just remember that the only way to learn to do hospitality well is to start practicing it. 

 


Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of TeenPact Leadership Schools. To learn more about our Vision & Values, please visit teenpact.com/vision-values/.

About the Author

Jessie Sharp

Jessie Sharp comes to us from the rolling fields of Humboldt, Kansas. Growing up surrounded by sunflowers, it’s no surprise that Jessie’s… Read More