Monday, March 25, 2013

The Joy of Hospitality ~ by Amy Vest

The sounds of car doors closing, doorbells ringing, and excited greetings ring through the air…  The guests are arriving!

Over the past few weeks, the Lord has given the beautiful gift of the opportunity to practice lots of hospitality – including everything from hosting missionary friends for dinner, to having out of town guests stay with us for a few days.  It has been such a sweet blessing and reminder of the gift God has given us in hospitality!

Hospitality is a wonderful opportunity for welcoming people into our home, seeking to show the Lord’s love, Truth, and heart to them in a way that refreshes, encourages, and blesses their soul, heart, and body.

I love Romans 15:7 - “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”   We have the amazing call and opportunity to welcome others as Jesus has welcomed us – for His glory!  It is such a privilege from the Lord!  

Hospitality is meant to be a powerful tool to extend Christ’s love, build relationships, and encourage one another in the Lord!

Hospitality can mean inviting a family over for a meal, a warm conversation and a cup of cold water (Matt. 10:42) for someone who is just dropping by to pick something up, welcoming an out of town guest, hosting a Bible Study, and so many other things.
I have seen firsthand the overflowing blessings of it – in the lives of the hosts and the guests – as I have witnessed how the Lord can dynamically work through hospitality to refresh, encourage, bless, convict, spur on, and deepen: walks with the Lord, advancement of the Kingdom, and human relationships. 

Scripture is filled with verses calling us to hospitality:
“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”  Romans 12:13
“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”  1 Peter 4:9

It is something that we are called by the Lord to embrace – and
all that our God calls us to is for His glory, our joy, and the blessing of others!  Isn’t that wonderful?  I want to grow in obeying this beautiful call for as long as I live – Will you join me?

Let’s look at some thoughts on practicing hospitality as we seek to embrace the Lord’s amazing call:

~ Ask the Lord who He would have you invite – Pray through who the Lord would have you reach out to and welcome.  This can be hospitality for: outreach, discipleship, fellowship, refreshing those in ministry, family get-togethers, etc.

~ Pray for the time – Ask the Lord for His presence to be in your midst, His blessing on the time, and for His will to be done.

~ Prepare – Take time to prepare your heart, the menu, house cleaning, conversation questions, and anything else that will be a benefit for the time with your guests.  This can include finding out if your guests have food sensitivities, thinking of questions that will specifically welcome, bless, and encourage them to open up and be ministered to, setting out toys for their children to use, etc.  Most of all, it is important that you have let the Lord prepare your heart – This is far better than having a perfect house and meal, but a frazzled heart!  (The story of Mary and Martha is a beautiful example of this in Luke 10:38-42.)

~ Welcome your guests – Let them see how glad you are that they have come.  Seek to make them feel comfortable and welcome.  Take their coats, offer them something to drink, and invite them to sit somewhere comfortable.  “…welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you...”  (Romans 12:15)   

~ Show Christ’s love – Allow the Lord to pour His love on them through you, making them feel cared for and valued.  Take interest in them, ask questions to draw them out, care about them and what they are sharing, and let them know that they are precious to the Lord and to you.  “…love one another; as I have loved you…”  (John 13:34)

~ Encourage them in Truth – Share things the Lord has been teaching you and doing in your life.  Find out how He has been moving in their lives.  Affirm them in how they are following Him and walking in His Truth.  Encourage them towards God’s Truth and best in their lives.  “…let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.”  (Hebrews 10:24)

~ Enjoy each others’ fellowship – Soak in getting to know them better.  Embrace the times of sharing, laughter, tears, and discussion.  Treasure the joy of sharing the journey.  “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”  (Romans 12:15)

~ Minister to their physical needsMinistering to physical needs is a beautiful doorway into ministering to the deeper issues of the heart.  This can include: rest and refreshment, a nourishing meal, comfort, helping them with their children, etc.  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  (James 2:15-17)

~ Be sensitive to their needsAllow the Lord to keep you alert to and show you needs that you can let Him minister to your guests through you to meet.  This can be everything from watching for when their water glass needs refilling, to discussing a deep issue of the heart.

~ The heartbeat of hospitality – You have the joy of walking with Jesus, seeking to let Him share His love through you, and letting Him lead you in sensitive thoughtfulness in watching for the needs of your guests and how you can bless them.  It is sharing Jesus and His love that we have known with others!  This is so important to keep in mind as you practice hospitality.

~ Bless them as they leave – As your guests leave, it can be so sweet to share how you were blessed by your time with them, tell them how you are encouraged by God’s work in them, and even pray for them before they leave.

May our guests leave having met with the Lord through the time, feeling loved by the Lord and us, encouraged in Truth, and refreshed for the journey!

The Lord bless you as you seek to welcome others as Christ welcomed you and allow Him to minister to them through time with you!

As you practice the joy of hospitality, remember the beautiful words of Jesus, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”  Matthew 25:40


  1. I always look forward to hearing from you through your blog!SUCH a beautiful blessing and encouragement to draw closer to our precious Lord through your writing!
    :) Rebecca
    p.s.- this was a BEAUTIFUL article about hospitality!!

  2. Dear Rebecca!
    It is such a delight to seek our Jesus with you on the blog, dear sister! He is so, so good and it is a treasure to love Him together! Your heart for Him is such a blessing! May we ever love Him more together!

  3. Beautiful post!! I love learning more about hospitality and this post was just lovely!! Very convicting and challenging as well. Have you ever read the book, "Practicing Hospitality", by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock? I read it a couple years ago and hope to read it again this year. It is one of my very favorites.
    I am new to this blog and am enjoying looking back on the posts here. It has been such a blessing and encouragement to me. Thank you for this blog and for your ministry as well.

    Many blessings to you,

  4. Dear Libby,
    I love learning more about hospitality, too! It is such a gift and I am so grateful that the Lord faithfully grows us! I have not read the book, but it looks like a beautiful and biblical resource!
    Welcome to the blog! We are so glad to have you join us in seeking Jesus! He is so good!
    With love,

  5. Thank you for this wonderful post! The Lord has put the subject of hospitality on my heart a lot lately. This certainly gives me more to think and pray about. As a busy wife and homeschooling mother of five I have not set enough time aside to be as hospitible as I would like. The Lord is leading me to improve in this area and I am already seeing the "fruits".

    God bless you for your ministry,

  6. Shannon,

    Thank you so much for your comment! The Lord's call to hospitality is so amazing and I know I am always needing Him to grow me in learning! That is beautiful that you are keeping your husband and children as your first priority and then reaching out in hospitality! May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek Him!