Hospitality was a very big deal during Christ’s day.
It was expected that hospitality be extended to anyone and everyone, even on a regular basis. For example, if there was a stranger that was passing through a town in need of a place to stay, it was not uncommon for a family to take him in as their guest. The guest was offered the best place to sleep for the night, a nice meal and, of course, protection.
Occasionally this protection came at the financial or health expense of the host, even if it meant one had to die for their guest. That’s how extreme this contextual hospitality was. One was expected to die for their guest, should the situation call for something like that.
Christ called for radical hospitality. People who are new to TPC should be welcomed into our church home, treated as guests, made to feel comfortable and receive the red carpet of hospitality and kindness—if for no other reason than it’s what God wants.
We live in the land of commercial hospitality. All of the theme parks, hotels and shops have it down to a science. Their reason, however, is financially motivated, where as ours should be motivated by the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
Nevertheless, we can still learn from those in the tourism industry. We can inquire: What makes one feel comfortable or at home? What allows one to feel welcomed, relaxed and as if they are instantly part of a family? What is hospitality?
A variety of factors constitute genuine hospitality. Hospitality is friendly and intentional about meeting and greeting an unfamiliar face. Hospitality is going the extra mile. If a guest asks us where the restroom is, we personally take them there as opposed to simply pointing and saying, “Over there.” Hospitality is making a meal for the guest to eat and enjoy without the expectation of something in return. Hospitality is putting your best foot forward and staying behind to clean up the mess. We may not receive hospitality in return when we are guests somewhere else. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t still offer it at every opportunity in life.
Radical hospitality is not a rare occurrence, or Christmas-only type gift; instead, it’s an obligation. God calls us to expand the Kingdom of God through grace, through celebrations, through joys, through relationships and through hospitality.
As the people celebrating their wedding in Cana where Jesus performed His first public miracle learned, if you throw out the red carpet of hospitality, you never know who just might show up.