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  • Kristie Anderson

Hospitality and the Christian Life




MONROE – It’s the month of February where our thoughts tend to focus on hearts and love and all things chocolate. However, as the most Hallmark of holidays approaches (Valentine’s Day), I would like you to consider one of the often overlooked ways that Christians are to show love for God and for one another. God’s word commands us to show hospitality.


Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Romans 12:13


Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.                

1 Peter 4:8-9


As a young pastor’s wife in rural Iowa many years ago, I was challenged and encouraged by the book The Hospitality Commands by Alexander Strauch. It had a profound effect on the way I perceived and practiced loving God and others. One of the key takeaways is that hospitality promotes loving Christian community. Hospitality is an identifying mark of the Christian life! 


In our fast paced, individualist society it is easy to put aside the Biblical command to practice hospitality. We live in a time that fosters isolation along with increasingly demanding work and family schedules. We are also bombarded by endless entertainment options and online diversions that distract us from deep and meaningful relationships.


Hospitality is hard. It takes work and time and sacrifice. Hospitality is not always convenient. For some, hospitality can be downright scary. Rosaria Butterfield offers some challenging counsel in her book, The Gospel Comes with a House Key. She writes, “Knowing your personality and your sensitivities does not excuse you from ministry. It means that you need to prepare for it differently than others might.” In other words, despite our objections, we have no excuses.


So,  how do we practically start showing hospitality in love for God and others?

Here are some steps that help me practice hospitality:


  1. Make a plan and start slowly. You do not have to fill every evening with people in your home.Pick a regular time and make a commitment. It might be once a month or once a week for your family. For our family, Sunday at noon works great.

  2. Keep a running list of people that you can encourage with your offer of hospitality. You should not always invite the same group of friends. Consider including the lonely and hurting and unchurched.

  3. Make a list of simple and inexpensive meals. You do not have to break the bank to be hospitable. We do a baked potato bar, much to the dismay of my children, almost every single week. It helps me know what to prepare each Saturday evening and it fits in with most dietary restrictions.

  4. Focus on people and not presentation. You do not need to have a gourmet meal or an immaculate house. Our goal is to show the love of Christ, not to try and be in the pages of House Beautiful.

  5. Pray for yourself and your guests. Hospitality provides us with a wonderful opportunity to spread the gospel. 


 In this season of love, let us not forget that hospitality is a very tangible way we are commanded to show our affection for God and others.

 


 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristie Anderson is a wife, mom and homeschooler. She is a native of Kentucky, but has called Iowa, East Asia, and Michigan her home. She loves Jesus, hanging out with her husband, reading aloud to her kids, and drinking good coffee.




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