Personal love and public confession become practical in hospitality. First Peter 4:9 counsels, “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” The church aims to be a family, and nothing characterizes a family as much as maintaining fellowship and eating meals together. Extending hospitality to others in the church, however, is far more than sharing food; it is sharing love and life, especially with those who might otherwise be deprived of it. The church in the United States desperately needs to practice such hospitality.
Alexander Strauch writes about a woman who attended a church more than an hour’s walk from her home. Every Sunday after morning worship, she would eat a lunch by herself, then go to a park or library until it was time to go to the evening service. She did this for four years. Not one family in the church invited her to their home. On her last Sunday at that church, an elderly woman invited her to her house.1Alexander Strauch, The Hospitality Commands (Colorado Springs: Lewis & Roth, 1993), 5.
Friendly handshakes at the church door can go only so far; true relationships require spending time together. What blessings hospitality offers, not only to single people who are drawn into a circle of love, but also to your children, who have the opportunity to interact with missionaries, visiting preachers, and other adults in the church. When you extend hospitality, unbelievers see real godliness in a Christian home firsthand. Young believers learn from mature Christians. Needs surface, and prayers can be lifted up for God’s help in meeting those needs. Make your love for the church practical by practicing hospitality.
In addition to hospitality, we have the further duty to promote the good of our fellow believers by putting our gifts and resources to work on their behalf, assisting them in things that pertain both to this life and the next. For instance, you might help someone find a job or make repairs on his house or car. Or you could offer encouragement and accountability to those who struggle with temptation or are just beginning to find their way in Bible study or personal prayer.
Beauty and Glory of Christ’s Bride
Joel R. Beeke