AS CHRISTIANS WE ARE CALLED TO PRACTICE HOSPITALITY. Interestingly, the word hospitality approximates the Greek word philoxenia, which means “love of the stranger.”
In her book, Butterfield breaks down hospitality to “bite size pieces” when she says defines hospitality “seeking to make strangers neighbors, and neighbors family of God.” How do strangers become neighbors? How do neighbors become family of God?
Consider these practical steps suggested by Matt Chandler in his article called Hospitality is Courageous.
How do we show hospitality today? It’s not complicated—though that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Here are four ways.
- Welcome Everyone You Meet
I think the best thing to do is literally greet everyone you see. That’s an easy thing to do if you’re wired like me—I’m a grade-A extrovert. That’s hard if you’re an introvert, and right now you’re thinking, Can we just go to number two, please? But often the best things to do are the hardest things to do.
Pray for grace, ask for strength and, well, greet people.
- Engage People
Remember that everyone you meet is eternal. You’ve never met a mere mortal, and you have never met someone who doesn’t bear God’s image. So care about and take an interest in those you run across. I don’t think this is overly difficult. We simply need to ask open-ended questions and let our inner curiosity out.
You may think this is all obvious—but so often we hold back from doing it. You need to get to know people, take an interest in them, and listen to them rather than just trying to think about how you can say something memorable or hilarious.
- Make Dinner a Priority
The Bible, over and over again, talks about the holiness of eating together. Long dinners with good food, good drink, good company, and good conversations that center around our beliefs, hopes, fears—that’s a good dinner. The Bible says that’s holy.
Oh, and I don’t mean dinner with friends. Yes, eat with your church small group, invite over your good friends, but remember that hospitality is to give loving welcome to those outside your normal circle of friends. It’s opening your life and your house to those who believe differently than you do.
- Love the Outsider
In every work environment, every neighborhood, there are people who, for whatever reason, are kind of outliers. These men and women are all around you—perhaps more so than ever in our globalized world.
Because of the way sin affects us, we tend to run away from differences and from being around people who think differently and look differently than we do.
We love the outsider because we were the outsider.
But I want to lay this before you: Jesus Christ would have moved toward those people. God extends radical hospitality to me and you. We love the outsider because we were the outsider.
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