The Bible shows us a God who is holy, just, faithful and true—and who opens his arms in a wide invitation to all who call on him through faith in Christ. If hospitality is the generous welcoming of others and seeking to supply their needs, then hospitality is right at the center of the Gospel. The stranger has been welcomed. The naked have been clothed. The hungry have been filled. This is our God.
Note: This article is being published in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of this, hospitality temporarily may look different, and we encourage everyone to follow safe social-distancing guidelines. We hope and pray that the Church will creatively continue to demonstrate hospitality while helping keep others protected.
From nailing 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg chapel to being speared by Auca Indians, the walls of the church are lined with bold acts of faith that have shaped the course of history. These tales told from generation to generation have strengthened many weak hearts to take courage and act. But for every heroic action that made it into the history books, there are probably dozens of examples of an equally impactful but less-noticed Christian service: hospitality. As we look back through the scope of church history, and even around the world today, one cannot underestimate the kingdom advancement that has come from open homes, shared meals, generous meeting of needs, and conversations about God’s Word exchanged over a cup of tea.
One reason why hospitality has been so powerful in advancing the mission of the church over the centuries is because hospitality is distinctly Christian. Of course, that does not mean that Christians are the only hospitable people in the world. Spend a few days in a village in India and you will discover that a Hindu family can offer a welcome that puts our “southern hospitality” to shame. But simply because people of other religions are hospitable doesn’t change the origin of hospitality. The reason hospitality exists in this world is because it is an indelible mark of the character of God.