What would Christmas be without 40 people crammed into our apartment, eating chili and popcorn balls and singing carols? Or the 4th of July? The LaGeorges know how to enjoy community! John would make his famous Italian sausages, you would bring a side dish, and next thing you know, clusters of a hundred adults mingled on the porch while the kids ran around the yard. Or there were those taco nights when our family friends would come over. (In Upstate New York, tortillas only came in a can.) We often ate on paper plates, but it was always lovely! My parents made their home a delightful spot for all who entered.
Today we are asking the question what might hospitality entail? In addition to knowing the Biblical definition of hospitality as “the love of strangers,” God’s people need to recognize that hospitality anticipates needs. The Bible gives us multiple examples of how this is lived out by those who extended God’s hand to strangers and family alike. Here are a few examples from the Scriptures that we can anticipate needs:
- Food. Feeding people is not just about gathering, but also meeting the needs of those who needed food. The early church gathered to break bread together, meeting needs within community. (Acts 2:46, 20:11)
- Housing. One shining example of meeting needs was the Shunnemite woman who built a room for the Prophet Elisha to stay in. (2 Kings 4:8-17)
- Safety. Remember how Rahab hid the spies and provided a means of escape for them? (Joshua 2)
- Necessities. Working for Children’s Hunger Fund has made me much more aware of the passages in Scripture that pertain to poverty and wealth. What does it mean for us to see a need and meet it? (James 2:15-16)
- Gospel. How can your home and life be a meeting place for the Gospel to be proclaimed? Where gospel workers can be encouraged? (Acts 10, 3 John 7-8)
What are some ways you could anticipate and meet needs?
- Does your church have a list of families in needs? Adopt a family and supply gift cards to help out.
- Can you send a care package to a missionary family in a hard place? (Ranch Dressing mix, taco seasoning mix, M&M’s, powdered peanut butter)
- Have you met some internationals who don’t have family in town? Share your gatherings with them. Did you know that fewer than 20% of international students in the States ever enter the home of a citizen?
- How about reducing the family Christmas or birthday gift-giving this year and meet some other people’s needs instead? CHF has a giving catalog to help you put this into action.
- Have some neighbors over for coffee and send them home with a Christmas book.
When we extend hospitality, we reflect the actions of our God who has welcomed us to His family. It is rarely easy, but Jesus is always worth it!