Ask most people in the church what hospitality is meant to look like, and they will probably describe a meal in someone’s home or an overnight stay with friends. We have been trained to think of it as food, tables, napkins, centrepieces, or more recently, opening the doors of imperfect homes to usher in friends and strangers alike.
These examples of hospitality aren’t bad, but when we think of hospitality as an event, we lose a lot of the meaning behind its purpose. Hospitality is about showing kindness to others, whether we know them well or not, and without grumbling or complaining (1 Peter 4:9).
It’s more than an event. Practising hospitality is cultivating a spirit that is generous, welcoming, and warm, and its purpose is to show what the love of Jesus is like. This may very well look like a meal in your home. But I would like to suggest a few areas of life that we don’t often link to the idea of hospitality but which actually speak loudly about our openness to others.
Please know that I’m not writing this as someone who perfectly exudes hospitality; in fact, it can sometimes be a struggle for me. I hope that thinking about these things will help both you and me to expand our ideas of what hospitality should look like in our lives.