Have you ever been overwhelmed, humbled by the mercy of another’s hospitality? Hospitality has a taste. It has a touch. It has a scent, a form, and can help us experience God’s presence in the most tangible way.
Sometimes, hospitality is our ability to make room for another – a friend, a stranger, a neighbor, and the least of these.
Other times, hospitality is also our ability to receive kindness, favor, and generosity from another (often an unexpected source). So what’s behind that? Probably, God.
The tangible expression of God is the willingness of his creation to express care.
However, we’re so quick to say, “no thanks”, “I’m fine”, and “I’m okay” that we miss out on those whom God is drawing near. If we can begin to see God as the Source of our lives (Jas.1:17, John 15) then receiving favors, kindness, and care reveals the presence of God and it reminds me that ultimately He provides.
If you struggle with doubt or believing God’s present or that He cares, try learning to be less self-sufficient. If we begin to see God as the Source of our lives, then acts of kindness, receiving favor, and gracious hospitality actually reveals God’s presence. If I never receive hospitality, I can easily be lulled into the belief that I don’t need Him.
Practicing a Rhythm of Hospitality. In Luke 10:1-20, a new phase of Jesus’ ministry began when he sent out the apostles to do the type of preaching, teaching and healing that they had observed him doing. This was the third tour of Galilee by Jesus and his disciples. On the first tour Jesus traveled with the four fishermen; on the second all twelve were with him. On the third, Jesus traveled alone after sending out the seventy-two, two by two.
He’s previewing the Great Commission, which would come after his resurrection. He wants to teach his disciples about evangelism and the way he does is by teaching them about hospitality.
He’s painting a new picture of what it meant to follow. No longer would they simply gather in the Temple or stay within the comfort of their small group. Now they were to go out. He gave them his power and authority and marching orders to find ‘People of peace”.
When Jesus sends them out, they’re told to take nothing with them for the journey. Instead, they were to rely on the hospitality and favor of strangers. When it comes to using our faith for good, often times the best thing we can do is let someone new, someone unexpected to care for us in unexpected ways.
Two things happen: God provides for us. God draws people together.
Think about it, when we feel most alive, we’re able to contribute. We feel most connected when we’re able to help, give, or serve. So a person who refuses to let anyone help is actually turning away the ability to be closer. This is why Jesus said, “it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a need than the rich man to go to heaven.” (Lk.18:25). He’s not saying that God doesn’t want you wealthy, he’s reminding us that abundance has a way of making us self sufficient and seeing what are needs actually are.
The spiritual Rhythm of Hospitality means learning to discern who God has been preparing in advance of my life. Our job isn’t to have all the right answers, the perfect approach, or to even be convincing. Our job is simply to let the Spirit lead to whom the Spirit has prepared. This means that we have to be willing to seek, wait, and receive God’s provision as much as we have the ability to offer it.
According to scripture, all of us appear to have “People of Peace” in our lives. These are the ones who have already shown us inexplicable favor, kindness, patience, or grace. Yet, it’s also safe to assume, each of us are also someone else’s person of peace. And it’s how we give AND receive that reveal God most.