Hospitality Must Resist Fear
I sent my husband to the store the other night to pick up some tahini for the hummus I was making. We were having an open house for our church family the next day and that was one of the recipes we were going to enjoy. As he wandered the aisles trying to find the ingredient, he ran into some of our neighbors from down the street who are from Pakistan.
My husband mentioned what he was looking for, and the neighbor said, “You don’t want this store brand. I’ll bring over the real deal from my country.” Later that evening, he proceeded to do just that. It was a wonderful opportunity to invite him in, have a short chat with him, and invite his family to our open house the next day.
I am wired for hospitality and have a love for all people—no matter where they are from or how different they are. If we are to reach the world for Christ, we must resist the fear of interacting with people who are different than us. We must fight past the tendency to stick with the comfortable and familiar. We need to listen to those who think differently than we do, including those who have a different political viewpoint or ideology than we have.
We often view hospitality as being good at hosting and entertaining, and while it can include that aspect, hospitality is more so about being welcoming. Are you including people into your circle and conversations? Do you make a point of reaching out to those who aren’t part of the crowd? Do you go out of your way to encourage the lost, the hurting, and the broken? Are you able to listen without having an agenda? Are you open to opportunities to invite someone in?
Jesus often interacted with those on the fringes of society—the woman with the bleeding issue, the Samaritan woman, lepers, tax collectors, and sinners. He was always on the lookout for these people in the crowd that followed Him, and He was able to draw them in and include them. He extended grace and hospitality, and He listened to their fears, their concerns, and their hurts. Because He showed love and care, they turned to Him.
As we interact with others, let’s make sure we are putting aside fear of the different or unknown. Let’s work on being generous and inviting to those around us. Look around and be on the alert for those who are overlooked or hurting and offer a hand of hospitality.