Today I ask, how can you show hospitality and reach out to those around you? You don’t need a home, or large amounts of money. You only need to be willing.
Loneliness After Loss
My mother died almost 10 years ago after a 3 year battle with cancer. She was my family, my world. After her passing, I worried so much about holidays. I wondered where I would go since the majority of my family resides on the East Coast and traveling out that way during any holiday can be a costly endeavor. The holidays were a time I expected to dread. I expected it to be a time of loneliness, a time to remember how much I’d lost, and who was missing.
Never have I been so wrong.
In the 10 years she’s been gone, I’ve never spent a holiday alone. Since her passing, a countless number of people have opened their homes to me, treating me as if I were a part of their family. I went from not knowing what I would do, to having to try to fit in everyone in one day.
Where I expected lack; I was given abundance.
The Concept of Hospitality
To be a guest is quite a humbling experience and a beautiful gift, a true display of Jesus’ love for us. Each time I’m asked to be a part of someone’s holiday, nothing but my presence is expected of me. I am loved, cared for, fed amazing food and included. Their hospitality is truly a gift that I can not repay. However, I can remember to pass it on and so can you.
The concept of hospitality is simple: to be welcoming, kind and hospitable to others. No one displays this better than Jesus. Jesus takes us just as we are, tired, broken, sinful and invites us to be with him.
One of my favorite examples of the gift of hospitality is Zaccheus the tax collector:
“He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Luke 19:1-7
Jesus knew who Zaccheus was and how he was viewed by the religious leaders of that time. Tax collectors were seen as conspirators against the Jews because of their ties to Rome. They were associated with greed and sin. Jesus knew all of this, yet He welcomed Zaccheus anyway. Because of Jesus’ love, acceptance and hospitality, Zaccheus repented and was saved.
“8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:8-10
How can you show the gift of hospitality? How can you open your home, work, or heart to someone and show them the love of Jesus today?
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Matthew 25:35-36 ESV