Offer Hospitality to One Another (revised)

Consideration... The Call of a Good Host

1 Peter 4:9 (NIV)

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

There is probably at least one occasion in all of our lives where we can recall being treated far less than hospitable. Even if the instant wasn’t outright hostile, we were still left feeling awkward and uneasy. Keep that thought in mind and consider this… during Biblical times there was much more to the term hospitality than what we attach to it today.

The word hospitality derives from the Latin hospes, which is formed from hostis, originally meaning "to have power." The meaning of "host" can be literally read as "lord of strangers."

1 Chronicles 11:9 (KJV)

So David waxed greater and greater: for the LORD of hosts was with him.

The scripture referenced above has nothing to do with throwing a party. There is nothing that speaks of invitations or R.S.V.P. returns. Throughout the Old Testament, God is referred to as the “Lord of Hosts”, and most of these references are given in the context of authority, power, and war. That’s quite a bit different from the notion of a guy or gal serving finger sandwiches and punch. So, what is the common thread, where is the connection that provides us with a joined understanding in our concept of the two extremes?

Proverbs 22:9 (KJV)

He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

Some answers can be found in the way strangers expected to be treated by the hosts or lords they encountered. Desert nomads didn't have vacation guide books, nor were there many hotels or rest stops. At the hand of a true "Host", the very least one could look forward to was refreshment from their journey. Food and rest were offered, and in most cases shelter and provision as well. The lord or host would consider it an oversight if he were to allow harm to befall the stranger under his care. Consideration and protection would be furnished as a matter of honor; with concern for the guest’s wellbeing being the general norm. The whole idea of hospitality is one of ensuring a sense of easiness, making the person feel relaxed and secure. This Biblical model reminds us that we are to consider what the person has faced and is facing when coming into our presence, and to do what we can to encourage them, putting them at ease. It also urges us to think ahead to what might be of need when they depart from our company. Giving thought to make provision for that which is yet to be encountered. To be mindful of their total wellbeing; past, present and future... this is the call of hospitality and the duty of a good host. Consider these passages which give instruction concerning treatment of strangers.

Exodus 22:21(KJV)

Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Job 31:32 (KJV)

The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.

John 14:2 (KJV)

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

In reality, we were all strangers at one time… enemies of our Heavenly Father as a matter of fact; cut off from God by our sinful nature. It is the work of the cross and the call to faith which provides us with a common starting point to change that. We have been given the opportunity to come in the “Name of the Lord.”

1 Samuel 17:45 (KJV)

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

When an army goes into battle, it does so at the will of its king for the defense of the kingdom. What's at stake is the wellbeing of its people. Christ is the “Lord of Lords”, and “King of Kings”; all who follow Him engage in “Spiritual Warfare” against sin and unrighteousness in the defense of “His Kingdom.” The welfare of those in the “Body of Believers” becomes the thing at stake. in essence, we represent Christ and His love for the Church. Just as the armies of Israel had God before them and with them, we have Christ as both example and leader before us and with us. Let us therefore in the “Spirit of Christ” show “Hospitality to One Another”, operating as “Good Hosts”; considering not only the physical needs, but also the spiritual struggle faced by those we encounter. Taking the time to care for their needs and provide comfort and assurance that in a “life of Christ”… every need will be supplied.

There is something else to consider... something that is often overlooked by many. We are in the soul winning business. The Good News of Christ's salvation as well as His love for the lost sinner is our mandate. This we show to every "Stranger", giving them opportunity in the hope that they will join us in the Body of Christ. If we shun them, refusing the opportunity to freely extend the hospitality of Christ... what manner of hope have we really given them?

Leviticus 19:33-34 (KJV)

And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Hebrews 13:1-3 (KJV)

Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.



Comments 9 comments

Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Hospitality comes in many forms but the most important form is to make your guest feel welcomed in every way.

mattmilamii profile image

mattmilamii 5 years ago from Chicago - Be A Blessing... Become A Hand Of God Author

Dear Dave,

You highlight the central point of true Christ centered hospitality. It's one thing to welcome a person and set limits to what they are welcomed to; which is how the world usually goes about it. It takes sacrifice and the discipline to do battle with our personal demons and fears before we can open up in every way. Before we can practice the act we must first accept the idea.

Thanks for the comment and the visit.


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

I learned the lesson the hard way though my wife's family or maybe I'm teaching it the hard way.

My wife is Filipina and when her friends and relatives come to our home for a visit, I open my arms to them and what is ours they are welcome to. But then that said, I get treated as an outsider in my own home as they go off and speak in their languages and dialects leaving me totally ignored.

Yes I am hurt by this, but still I will never deny them my love or my home. They are always welcome. The one thing I do though is that when we sit down at the dinner table as family, the language must be English only so that I am included, and since they all understand and speak English we have no problem.

mattmilamii profile image

mattmilamii 5 years ago from Chicago - Be A Blessing... Become A Hand Of God Author

Dear Dave,

As you have found out, cultural differences do present obstacles with challenges that are sometimes hard to overcome. Your wife probable enjoys the chance to relax and revisit her roots of culture in the language of her land. I’m sure no malice is intended by this, but still, your feelings are your feelings. I suggest you sit down with her and gently explain how you are made to feel when this happens and ask that she consider your position. Sometimes a little communication can go a long way to minimize misunderstandings. In any event, knowledge of your awkwardness may help to give her a better view of your relationship, as well as some ideas to make it stronger. Remember, you love each other and your love will get you through this.


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

mattmilamii: We are married 25 years this December. I have softly explained it till I am blue in the face. I still welcome her friends and family into our home with open arms of love and what's ours is theirs when they ask. I have even tried speaking to the others one on one, they understand my feelings but don't seem to care.

I still insist and if necessary demand only English when we sit down at the dinner table. If this rule gets broken, I might really get upset, but so far it works.

I feel like the bad guy sometimes but I also feel like I am being treated like a piece of furniture in my own home.

mattmilamii profile image

mattmilamii 5 years ago from Chicago - Be A Blessing... Become A Hand Of God Author

Dear Dave,

After 25 yrs, it seems that in spite of the friction God has maintained in you a willingness to remain loving and hospitable. As with the Apostle Paul... His grace is sufficient, and everyone can be thankful for that.

Continue in the spirit.

Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Indeed both of us were/are long-suffering men of the Lord Jesus.

creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 5 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thank you I agree with on hospitality, we should treat everyone the way we want to be treated, especially in our homes. We should make everyone feel welcome at all times. Thank you for sharing. GHodspeed. creativeone59

mattmilamii profile image

mattmilamii 5 years ago from Chicago - Be A Blessing... Become A Hand Of God Author

Dear creativeone59,

Good to hear from you...

If we act to treat everyone in the loving manner that God would, hospitality wouldn't be an issue. Thanks for stopping by.


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