OceanSide church of Christ
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by: Dalton Gilreath
The term “hospitality” comes from the Latin hospes. Hospes is also the word from which we get our term “hostile”. This is significant because the word references a stranger or an enemy. In other words, the true root of hospitality isn’t about hosting your family, friends, or the most popular people you know in the congregation. Hospitality at its core is about receiving strangers and your enemies. While we should certainly be hospitable to everyone, it seems we mostly like to be hospitable to those who need it the least. When is the last time we invited a visitor or new member to do something? When is the last time we invited the less popular people at church to go eat or come over?
Jesus describes true hospitality the same way. When discussing judgment Christ said the King would give Heaven to those on His right hand. These people were described as being giving, visiting the sick, and also those who were hospitable to strangers (Matt 25:35). Furthermore, Jesus told His disciples specifically who needed to be the first to receive invitations into our homes. He said, “call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsman, nor thy rich neighbors…but when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed” (Luke 14:12-14 KJV). Additionally, consider that the apostle Paul wrote to “seek to show hospitality” (Rom 12:13). Conclusively, while it is certainly a good thin, the extent of hospitality isn’t meaning to invite the preacher, elders, and deacons to go eat or come over as time permits. The true essence of hospitality is being actively watching for (“seeking”) opportunities to bring the visitors, the less fortunate, and the unpopular to our gatherings. If I am not practicing the Lord’s definition of hospitality, can I really consider myself hospitable?