Hospitality is a biblical concept. In the New Testament the word for “hospitality” is “philoxenia” which means “love of the stranger.” It occurs twice in the New Testament. In Romans 12:12-13, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (cf. Hebrews 13:2) The adjective of “philoxenia” is also used in the New Testament. For example, in 1 Peter 4:8-10, we read, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administrating God’s grace in its various forms.” (Cf. 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8)
How might you practice Christian hospitality in your personal life?
- Pray the Lord would give you friends who are believers and unbelievers. The Lord might answer your prayer as you invite someone out to lunch or as you join a local service organization or sporting league or as you host a neighbourhood block party.
- “Love them until they ask you why.” Through a variety of ways you can show the love of Christ through acts of hospitality. You might:
- offer free babysitting
- take a meal to someone who is ill or just had a baby
- provide transportation to someone who needs a ride to a grocer or doctor
- mow the grass or shovel the snow for an elderly neighbour
- welcome a newcomer to the neighbourhood with a potted plant
Eventually, they might ask why you are so hospitable and then you can tell them about the love of Jesus in a way that is most natural.
- Study God’s Word so you will know what to say when they ask why.
St.Peter writes, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15) God gives you His Word for the purpose of creating and nurturing faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour from sin, death, and the power of the devil. It is important that you be able and eager to speak the Good News with
believers and unbelievers. In order to be ready when they ask, you might:
- regularly nurture your faith through worship, Bible study, and personal devotional time
- focus on the Book of Acts and the spread of the Gospel in the first century
- organize or join a Bible study group that is interested in outreach
- attend a witness workshop like Lutheran Hour Ministries’ Mission U.
Showing hospitality to others is a rewarding experience. Friendships are often created, relationships are strengthened, and the door to speaking the Gospel of Jesus is opened.
*Adapted from a worksheet produced by the Department of Evangelism Ministry of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.