February 06, 2012

The Gift of Hospitality

Genesis 18:1-8

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 4:9


Wherever I travel in my work for international ministries, I am continually amazed by the way people open up their hearts and homes to me. They practice hospitality.

In many parts of North America, hospitality has become rather anemic. It often amounts to little more than a coffee gathering among friends. It’s more common to see “hospitality” advertised by restaurants, hotels, and resorts that try to snag my dollar when I’m on vacation.

But the robust hospitality of the Scriptures is not a welcome based on how much cash (or plastic) you have in your wallet to pay for a room and a meal. It’s not even confined to people who are “like ourselves.” The hospitality Scripture speaks of is typically focused on people different from ourselves.

Many of us have a certain fear of strangers. We’re intimidated by people who dress, eat, and talk differently than we do. But biblical hospitality looks beyond differences to see similarities—to recognize others as fellow imagebearers of God. This hospitality is an act of welcoming grace—and therefore participates in the very dynamic of the character of Jesus Christ.

One day Sarah and Abraham welcomed visitors who were actually the Lord and his angels (see Hebrews 13:2). Whom in your community do you need to welcome in the name of our Lord?

Father, grant us the grace to overcome our fears and welcome people who need hospitality, that we may share the love we have received from you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Bob Heerspink

Dr. Robert Heerspink was director of Back to God Ministries International from 2006 until 2011, when he passed away. He had previously pastored several Christian Reformed churches. Bob loved to write and was a frequent contributor to the Today devotional.

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