The Case for Hospitality



Scripture

Luke 10:1    After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 

Luke 10:10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.

Luke 10:29   But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 

Luke 10:38   Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.

Observation

This chapter of Luke takes us on a journey of hospitality. First we encounter the seventy who are sent out to preach in the different cities. There is an expectation of hospitality among the citizens of those towns. The condemnation of those who refuse to show hospitality is great. They are considered worse than Sodom in their rejection of Jesus’ messengers, and then quite specifically, the message. He is condemning these Jewish towns for their refusal to accept the Messiah. 

Jesus then moves on to the conversation with the lawyer who wants to know what it takes to inherit eternal life. The response is the story of the Good Samaritan. In other words, it’s the unexpected individual who shows hospitality that will inherit eternal life. Taking care of our neighbors, whether they are like us or not is what is reflected in the Christian life. 

Finally, we find Jesus entering the home of Mary and Martha. There he encounters another kind of hospitality. Martha knows how to be the best hostess around but she fails to understand that hospitality moves beyond providing a nice dinner, and includes wholehearted inclusion of the Lord in all matters of life. 

Luke is making a case for an all-encompassing hospitality that defines the Christian life. 

Application

God is constantly reaching out to us, showing us incredible hospitality and God’s hospitality is to be reflected in all of us. First, we are to receive the hospitality of God, not rejecting the beauty that God has to offer. This is a step of faith, accepting that which is not explainable, but incredibly transformational. 

We are also to engage in hospitality with those who are in the ministry. Serving the Lord through vocational ministry is at once exciting and defeating. There are people whose lives are being restored by the power of the Holy Spirit and critical “Saints” who feel that it is their calling to point out everything they can that the minister is doing wrong all in the name of “supporting the ministry.” Hospitality means that we are concerned for the needs of those serving in ministry and lovingly care for and support them. We don’t allow our local pastor to suffer in poverty when the rest of the congregation has plenty because we just can’t imagine giving up that full 10% of tithe! Even our giving becomes a sign of our hospitality. God’s generosity is overflowing and as we reflect the Lord, we should also have generous spirits. You can never out-give the Lord, whether that is through hospitality or generosity. We are challenged to test the Lord on this one.

Sadly, God’s people don’t always follow through on reflecting the image in the way they should. They pass by on the other side when the opportunity for ministry is presented. If you listen closely, you discover that it is the most unexpected individual who reflects the image of God. This is the one that those who thought they were deeply spiritual would have resented and never believed that they could be holy. The unlikely is the holy and this rocks them to the core. 

Finally, Jesus comes to our home. We think we need to have everything set in order for him to come and fellowship. He’s telling us to stop worrying about getting everything right and to just sit down and soak in his holy presence. Hospitality is not planning great events for the Lord — but in giving him our attention. Hospitality is sitting and listening at the Lord’s feet. 

The reflection of hospitality becomes all-consuming in the life of the Christ-follower. Hospitality to the world for the sake of Christ is good news. 

Prayer


Lord, please help me to live a life of generous hospitality in all things. Amen. 

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