What is Hospitality?

Hospitality When God's people are in need be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality

I have a love seat in my living room that the cat likes to scratch on after we go to bed at night. She’s been scratching on it for a long time. My living room furniture is comfortable but mismatched. I wish I were a more meticulous housekeeper. But, I’m a bit of a clutter collector and honestly, I don’t really like dusting or mopping floors. Oh, I do these things, but I don’t maintain that level of sparkle that I see in the homes of some other women when I visit.

Despite the lived in nature of my home, I invite people over all the time, and they come. They park in my driveway and sometimes they park in the neighbor’s driveway when they have permission. They sit and share deeply with me and with each other. On Tuesday evenings, a group of women keep showing up over and over again to sit in worn rocking chairs and slightly ragged love seats to be real about struggles in their lives and wrestle with the ways we can become Christ-followers who love and serve well. Who forgive, and lift one another up, who challenge one another and hold each other accountable.

I hear women say all the time that they would like to host a Bible Study in their homes one day but they would need to get a new couch first, or live in a bigger home or spend money for a housekeeper. These women are missing out. And they are not setting themselves up for success in the way they think they are.

I have to wonder if my willingness to show the reality of my life is a signal that I’m willing to share who I really am with the women who visit my home and in turn, they are willing to be more transparent and vulnerable too. There is no pretense in my living room on Tuesday evenings. And you know what, we like it that way!

We live in a pretty lonely world. We isolate ourselves. We curate our lives on social media driving the bar ever higher and the void between us ever wider. We chat by text so that we can multitask during a conversation and we meet our friends at coffee shops so we don’t have to let them into our homes. We don’t know our neighbors and we sure don’t sit on the porch and drink tea while we pass the hours with them like my grandparents did. We all hunger for deeper connection. The kind of connection the church is meant to offer the body of Christ. The kind of connection that can be salt and light in our world. People are hungry for true connection.

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 (NLT)

I’ve looked up the definition for the word the Bible uses as hospitality in this verse, it’s the same word we use for fellowship. Letting people into our homes is a first step toward letting people into our lives. My friends, it’s not likely we will impact anyone deeply by holding them at such a distance. And the loneliness in this world will continue to multiply unless we reach out. We must swallow our pride and open our homes and our lives in a way that invites vulnerability. Yes, I know that sounds scary, but in truth, it’s life changing and affirming.

Author: Loretta Gjeltema

Encouraging women to thrive as they engage with God's word.

9 thoughts on “What is Hospitality?”

  1. You might like The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield. There are videos on Rightnow Media.

  2. I love this! It makes me want to come over to your house on Tuesday nights! What a great post…too often we worry more about how we look on social media than on cultivating our personal relationships.

  3. You are so right! We are told in Scripture that hospitality is a way to demonstrate love. We should not let our pride stand in the way of being hospitable. Thanks for this reminder.
    “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.”
    ‭‭1 PETER‬ ‭4:9‬ ‭NASB‬‬

  4. Loretta, this made me smile. First of all, I have kitty cats. Secondly, your perspective on hospitality is beautiful and gave me a loving poke of conviction. It made me think of Martha and Mary. I can identify with both of these women, but so want to embrace Mary’s heart. Your post conveys that!

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