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Genesis 13:2: Offering hospitality

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers,
for some who have done this have
entertained angels without realizing it!

Hebrews 13:2

Hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers (Google Dictionary). Often it’s offering a room, shelter, food, but can be as simple as taking a meal to a shut-in. Notice how these verses describe hospitality –

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation,
be constant in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the saints
and seek to show hospitality.

Romans 12:12-13

We seek or pursue hospitality. It’s something we practice. Hospitality is essential – we especially offer this kindness to our family in the faith.

The Greek word for hospitality in 1 Peter indicates loving strangers – philoxenoi – and we should do so without trying to get out of it!

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

1 Peter 4:9

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Hebrews 13:2

While we don’t offer hospitality to guests in hopes to entertain angels, we know that the possibility is real. Remember -even the strangest of humans is stamped with the image of God!

You will never lock eyes with someone
who is not deeply loved by God.

Pastor Paul Kemp

We are commanded to offer hospitality to both our family of faith and to strangers. Obviously we obey because it’s a command, but more than that, we obey out of deep gratitude for all that Christ has done for us. Offering hospitality is both a privilege and a blessing!

The crux of hospitality is having
the heart of a servant –
willing to extend mercy to anyone in need!

In our world full of strangers, estranged from their own past, culture and country, from their neighbors, friends, and family, from their deepest self and their God, we witness a painful search for a hospitable place where life can be lived without fear and where community can be found. Hospitality, therefore, means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them a space where change can take place.

Henri Nouwen

Practical Hospitality Tips …

  1. Visit a shut-in from your church family or neighborhood; sit with them an hour just to listen.
  2. Offer to babysit for the young family in your church or neighborhood who do not have grandparents nearby.
  3. Visit the local nursing home (when they loosen the rules after the pandemic) to read to folks, to sit and listen, to play the piano for them.
  4. Send a card a week (or even a month) to encourage those around you.
  5. Volunteer in the local schools or other service organizations
  6. While walking your neighborhood stop to chat with others outdoors. Take time to listen.
  7. Take your neighbors trashcan up from the curb for them; cut that little strip of grass between your driveways.
  8. Invite someone home to dinner regularly – it can be as simple as tacos or homemade pizza.
  9. Host a neighborhood book swap; a book club; a little library.
  10. Above all, be friendly, and pray regularly for your neighbors!

Who is thy neighbor? he whom thou
Hast power to aid or bless;
Whose aching heart or burning brow
Thy soothing hand may press.

Thy neighbor? ’tis the fainting poor,
Whose eye with want is dim;
Oh, enter thou his humble door,
With aid and peace for him.

Thy neighbor? he who drinks the cup
When sorrow drowns the brim;
With words of high, sustaining hope,
Go, thou, and comfort him.

Thy neighbor? ’tis the weary slave,
Fettered in mind and limb;
He hath no hope this side the grave;
Go, thou, and ransom him.

Thy neighbor? pass no mourner by;
Perhaps thou canst redeem
A breaking heart from misery;
Go, share thy lot with him.

William Peabody & William Cutter

Our pastor has been preaching through Hebrews and most recently Hebrews 13:1 – 6. There are 5 commands – how to worship God in our relationships. You can find the sermon here.

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