Thoughts on Hospitality

Thoughts on Hospitality

This past Sunday, I preached from 2 Kings 4:8-37.  The story is quite familiar.  The newly anointed prophet, Elisha, is shown great hospitality by a woman from a place called Shunem.  The woman is never identified by name and thus throughout history has simply been known as the Shunammite woman.  What initiated her claim to fame was—quite simply—her hospitality to the prophet.

It was through her provision—at first a meal, then a room with the necessary accommodations—that clued the prophet in to her need.  She was barren and her husband was old and the hope of a child had probably been long past.  Nonetheless, once finding out her need, Elisha prophetically spoke to her that she would have a son within a year.

Reading the passage made me wonder how often the blessings of God may be missed because we are too busy to be hospitable.  The cares of work and home are elevated over the concern of sharing Christ’s love with our fellow man.  We also make excuses as to why we are not able to be as hospitable as we would like.  “I haven’t had time to clean the home appropriately.” “I do not have enough money to buy food for guests.” None of these excuses are really sufficient in the long run.  At some point, all of us are called to care for others and part of that calling is to show hospitality.

So what are some practical ways we can be hospitable without it being stressful?

  1. De-clutter.  A cluttered home is much more difficult to keep in order than one that is simple.  This is a lesson my wife and I are currently learning.  Less really is more.  We are giving away toys and clothes and household goods in order to pair things down so that our home will be easier to maintain.
  2. Plan.  As the old saying goes, if you want friends, be friendly.  The same is true with hospitality.  Don’t wait around to be invited to someone’s home, be the first to step up and offer to host something at your home.  In this way, you get to plan the day and the time so that you can be adequately ready.
  3. Practice Openness.  While the Shunammite woman probably did not have much warning before Elisha stopped by, guest nowadays usually give you a call or text to let you know they are coming over.  If not, however, don’t be stressed by a last minute—or last second—notice that someone is coming over.  Offer what you have on hand and be thankful to God for whatever provision He has made.
  4. Simplicity.  Some of the best times my wife and I have had in other people’s homes have been when things have been the most simple.  It is the fellowship that really matters anyway, not all of the other niceties.  You do not have to fix a full meal for your guests, maybe just invite them over for dessert and coffee.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but maybe it will help to get us thinking in the right direction.  Hospitality is not something that is an option in the body of Christ, so let’s do it joyfully as unto the Lord.

Mark 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

© 2010-2017 Cornerstone Family Church All Rights Reserved