Many times throughout Scripture, and especially in the Gospels, we see the quality of hospitality. Jesus, our example, sought to welcome people from all walks of life. Jesus was both hospitable to the wealthy, religious elite like Nicodemus (John 3) and the poor, dejected sinners like the Woman at the well (John 4). Nicodemus initiated the conversation with Jesus, but Jesus initiated it with the woman. Both times Jesus’ hospitality opened the door to some significant gospel conversations. Jesus modeled what Christian hospitality is to look like in our lives.
Not only did Jesus model this hospitality, he commanded it. Both in his gospel and through men as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit to write the New Testament. Jesus calls to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:39) and to love one another as he has loved us (John 13:34-35). Genuine hospitality is an act of genuine love. Hospitality is listed as a requirement to be a minister in both 1 Timothy (3:2) and Titus (1:8). But it is not just paid ministers who are called to show hospitality or even those of us who choose to freely and joyfully serve in our hospitality ministries like First Impressions or Guest Connections. We are all called to show the hospitality and love of Christ. Paul says in Romans that we should “seek to show hospitality” (Rom. 12:3). For those who are in Christ, we have all been made into minsters of His Gospel. So we should lovingly follow our supreme example Jesus Christ in showing hospitality, obeying the command of Scripture.
Now this is not a pitch to get someone to sign up for our hospitality ministry teams. This is an appeal for a fundamental culture change for some and an encouragement to keep on for others. We must be a church who is actively seeking out ways to show hospitality to others. and this begins on Sunday morning. Everyone is a part of our First Impressions Team. Yes, we have people serving in areas specifically for that, but everyone is responsible for how people will think of not only this church as a result of our hospitality (or lack-there-of), but how they think of our Lord Jesus Christ as well. We should always remind ourselves that it is not about us. It’s not about you. On Sundays we should walk into the worship service on a mission to seek to show hospitality to someone new. Greet your friends, yes, but aim to seek out those who aren’t familiar to you. Begin with your section that you sit in and move outward from there. Take the initiative that Christ took and introduce yourself to them. Introduce them to your friends. Bring them with you to Life Group. Invite them to lunch. Do whatever it takes for them to feel, through your hospitality, the great and surpassing love of our Lord Jesus Christ. To him belongs the glory and dominion, forever and ever. Amen.