Hospitality: Day 8

Move From Hostility to Hospitality

by

Today's Text: Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 25:31-46

Text: Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 25:31-46

 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, ESV

When I think of the word “hospitality,” I think of my people gathered around an old wooden table, seated under giant oak trees strung with twinkly lights. We’re all passing around teeming bowls of beautiful salad and piling bread high on our plates. There are throngs of children running around, giggling as they catch fireflies in mason jars.

Compared with this idyllic image, the kind of hospitality I see Jesus asking of us seems small, dirty, and difficult. It feels messy and dangerous and ill-advised. It’s the opposite of everything I learned about hospitality in my suburban upbringing. I learned how to set a proper table, how to make centerpieces, and how to chew with my mouth closed. But, if I’m honest, it looks like Scripture is calling me far from my manners and my Pinterest-perfect recipes into the depths of another person’s difficulty.

The least of these are those at the very bottom of the pile. They are the downtrodden, the disenfranchised, the utterly forgotten. They are those who are highly needy and who have not a lot to offer in return. And sometimes, they are us. In Matthew 25, we are told that when we love and serve the widows, the orphans, the poor and hurting, we are loving and serving Jesus Himself. On the flipside, when we forget or ignore those in need, we are forgetting and ignoring Christ. We need to open our eyes to the ways we’ve slighted those in need.

 In Reaching Out, Henri Nouwen says, “The movement from hostility to hospitality is hard and full of difficulties.” It is a hard road to love people in the middle of their difficult circumstances and heartache. The very act of caring for others will drive us to the Good News that we are able to do nothing without His strength. But friends, let’s remember this:

When we reach out and create a place to love, we are living the Gospel. We are seeking out those who are far off, those who are broken and alienated. We are finding a way to bring them into the fold and lavish them with love, mirroring the way God made a way for us when we had nothing to offer Him (and though ultimately we still have nothing to offer Him!).

 “Although many, we might even say most, strangers in this world become easily the victim of a fearful hostility, it is possible for men and women and obligatory for Christians to offer an open and hospitable space where strangers can cast off their strangeness and become our fellow human beings.”
– Henri Nouwen

 Providing space for strangers to “cast off their strangeness” — this is hospitality for the least of these. We meet each other in our humanity, drawing strength and comfort from God. We allow one another to be broken, but always point to the One who makes us whole.

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  • SarahBeth

    Far too often we worry about our safety more than what Jesus seems to want us to do. If your heart is moved with compassion then follow it!

  • Leslie Annette Watson

    I guess a big problem with hospitality for me is just being afraid of total strangers because theses days it’s hard to know who is safe to be around. I might invite what I think is a harmless stranger into my home, come to find out he is dangerous or something of the sort as that. I guess you can show love and hospitality in safer ways as well

  • I’m not terribly great at dinners and dealing with many people. As a guest in the same room I’m fine but as a hostess it doesn’t appeal to me. What I have learnt through this series is that I’m hospitable in a different way and though dinners are a great way to get people together there’s other ways. I took a new friend to a local market. She’s not from around here and it reminded me of how much I really enjoy interacting with foreigners.

  • Taylor S

    I’m really enjoying this study. Much of my struggle with hospitality has been met with my fear of rejection from others. I’m trying to move past that!

    • Allie M.

      Taylor, you put my thoughts and fear exactly into words, thank you for sharing that. I pray today for you and I, as I begin and as you have been working, to move past this fear to see all that the Lord can do through our willingness.

  • AllisonH

    In our society, I believe we forget that children would also be considered “the least of these”.

  • I am a sophomore at Temple University. I moved into my new home right off campus a few short months ago and this devotion has been an incredible reality check. I love to host, I love baking and cleaning and making people feel welcome…but I don’t always have the right motivation. I want to give the glory to God, and I want everyone to feel like they can put off their strangeness and feel loved and welcomed in my home. I’m learning!!

  • Table Clothes

    I like your blog so….

  • Liz Newman

    My husband and I have been campus pastors and now youth pastors and what we have had to learn is that hospitality isn’t always pretty. We have had people in our home that weren’t are closest friends or people we were necessary comfortable around, but they were the people in the church that needed love and fellowship the most. Hostility can’t have limitations on the type of people. Everyone needs to feel welcomed and not like a stranger to those around them. I’m loving this study because it does crash the ideas we have in our head, especially as women of a home, of hospitality. It’s challenging me to go beyond my comfort zone in my relationships and seek out those who are the least.

  • Samantha Kelley

    Loved this devo so much!!! Hospitality often seemed about the cute things like setting a table and making sure pillows are fluffed for our guests spending the night. And then we became licensed foster parents 2 years ago. Our lives changed – it was hard, stretching, revealing of our own sin and selfishness, and separated us from some of our social circles because we had kids way older than any of our friends with us. We didn’t have time to set a cute table – we were lucky if we had a table without toys and homework papers on it. But we saw Jesus step in and change the hearts of kids and the parents that had lost the privilege to be with their children. We saw Jesus begin to transform our own understanding and humble us in the way we needed to be more like Him. And I would never think setting a beautiful table was what the Christian life was about again.

  • This devotional really makes me think about those that are alone and live alone. Living in China, in a transient place, if one isn’t really connected with the true body of Christ, where fellowship provides much more than just worshiping our creator but walking together in life it becomes lonesome. I am praying that the Holy Spirit moves within the hearts of those who love the Lord, love the lost. Please pray for revival in China. May we all be convicted to extend ourselves God’s way. Thank you for this devotional, SRT!!!

    • Sarah

      I work at a social services agency and constantly assisting other people/working long hours often each day. Due to this, when I leave work I find that I am becoming so focused on getting everything I need to get done that I forget to ask/give God my time. I am really struggling with loving people the way God wants and serving him after work. I value my time so much that I get really self-focused and miss out on so many opportunities and blessing around me. I so greatly want God to lead me each day but am really struggling with how to do this and apply his hospitality to my day/life.

  • jesuslives87

    this devo made me cry, I was convicted! God is so good.

  • Elizabeth

    I am just loving this study! It is so convicting and is really showing me the heart of Jesus. I am struggling to come up with ways to even demonstrate and live out this radical hospitality. Ideas would be appreciated!

  • I’m tired of living safe. I want to get in the trenches with those who are broken and weary. I want to reach out to them, care for them. Help us, Lord, to share what You have blessed us with…not just monetarily but our fellowship, our peace, our joy, our HOPE.

  • Shablesw

    i am learning so much about true hospitality. i do not enjoy entertaining – it causes a great deal of anxiety for me. everything these days from pinterest to target ( and i love Target!) puts so much emphasis on having the right stuff. I’m not into that.
    but people – people that are hurting or just need a break, a place to sit, a sandwich, a hand to hold – i can totally do that.
    thank you for bringing to light the biblical truth of hospitality.

  • mandysheppard

    Casting off the desire to make everything picture perfect and trading it in for authentic moments…that is the hospitality we are called to. But in a world where perfection is encouraged, it feels hard to shed the pressure to have a pinterest-worthy gathering. It doesn't matter if the table linens match the plates. Shoot, it doesn't even matter if they are paper plates. I just have to remember that loving others is our only goal, no matter what that looks like.

  • This post really resonated with me. A lot of it is about how we should seek the strangers and this whole week seems to talk about helping strangers going out of our way to help others we don’t know or we are only aquainted with; but this post where it speaks of the downtrodden, the disenfranchise, the ones who are needy and don’t have much to offer in return reminded me of my father. Someone who has always been in my life and still is, someone I always respected and thought was strong and had a faithful relationship with God but recently in the past few years he isn’t the same, he seems lost. He’s always angry and frankly he annoys me. The man that raised me is now like a stranger to me, and I don’t particularly like him. And it makes me sad. I want to reach out to him, I want to speak about God with him but I’m afraid to, intimidated. My father is lonely and it breaks my heart and I long to have the wisdom and bravery to “lavish him in love” but I don’t know how. I think this is where faith and a sense of hospitality steps in, not necessarily literal strangers to us but people who become strangers through their struggles and become alienated and broken.

    • Jaime Smith

      My prayers are with you! Some of us don’t have the chance to reach out to our fathers anymore for they have passed! Every second is precious, don’t wait for the opportunity to come! One day it may be too late…

  • Christina

    I love this! It reminds me of the community I have found in Celebrate Recovery.

  • This really hit home with me today too. One big part of what jt means to be Christian. Great message, thank you.

  • I'm convicted as I study this today, to remember the least of these among me daily. It's easy for me to see it in third world countries. But those people are in my neighborhood, my city, my church. I want to be a person who lives that out in my daily life….here….not just there.

    • Becky

      I see the need daily in my workplace, an Elementary school. They come with different faces and stories, but are all in need of a smile and acknowledgement. To be recognized and not invisible is so important to “the least of these”. To know someone thinks they are special and loved is like being wrapped in a warm quilt.

  • Hospitality is about reaching into the depths of someone else in need. It is messy. Such a counter cultural thing! May God help all of us seek out ways we can bring mercy to others.

  • Mariah M.

    Its amazing… all my life I've thought of hospitality as nothing more and nothing less than having someone over and cooking an amazing, scrumptious 3 course meal. This series has really opened my eyes to see that it is more than just that, although that is included. It is reaching out to those in need. Thank you so much, SRT, for opening my eyes to see this. I thank God for you all!
    Today, especially. This is something I needed today. If I think back, I can remember a lot of times when I bumped into someone that needed help and I didn't give them a second thought. I go to church, I read my Bible, but my love for others is lacking. "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." The greatest is LOVE!!! This truth is incredible. I am so thankful and I pray that God will help all of us in this SRT community to have more love and show TRUE hospitality!
    Thank you Lord for SRT!

  • There's a phrase one of my coworkers, who is a counselor, likes to say, which is right in line with this whole theme: "Love dictates that we get messy in each other's lives." It's hard enough sometimes to get messy in a friend's life, let alone a stranger. But I love the idea of those people 'casting off their strangeness' :]

  • Hello sisters in Christ! I’m so grateful for the passage that speaks thru us today! And I thought I wanted to hear your side in my situation. When I was a little kid I had a habbit of reading the bible randomly, I have then discovered strangers, street children, the oppress and the outcasts have a very special space into my heart. Now that I’m in college, I still do help them by my own special little ways, knowing this would make my Jesus, my Savior, our Fortress, smile, somehow.

    But I have a hard time looking thru the eyes of these strangers, when Im with my friends I would fetch something into my bag and give it to these strangera without even looking at them because I’m very embarrassed in front of my friends. There are times I would give food and when people see me I can’t even tilt my head in shyness. because I dont want to do it to impress. I want tp really help them by looking thru them, not by merely handling something to them. If there’s anyone who can relate in my situation, I’m praying that we invote Jesus to speak thru us in action and in words and in pur intentions when we try to help His loving people. Pray for us also my dear sisters, in Jesus name. Amen. – Sending love from Philippines

  • Cari Spaulding

    “Providing space for strangers to cast off their strangeness.” This is wonderful, and I want to play a part in it. Lord, show me the strangers. It may even be people that I least expect. Help me to see with your eyes.

  • father, teach us to love like you…..it all starts and ends in love.

  • Samantha

    I once heard a pastor say that if Christians and the church did their jobs, we would have no need for the welfare program.

    It is interesting to think of this quote in light of this devotion. If we did all that we were supposed to be doing, for the least of these, reaching out, giving, taking care of…we wouldn't need our country to do it for us. And let's face it, our country mis-handles things, presenting help in twisty ways that might help, but don't heal.

    If we only lived out what we are supposed to do, people might be healed rather than just helped.

  • Mandy Leigh

    God is really using this study to break me down and build me back up again. I’m starting to see so many places in my life where there have been opportunities to show hospitality and I’ve been missing them. My life and my actions change NOW.

  • This is hard. When I think of the poor and the downtrodden, I think of the man who stands at the end of the expressway offramp holding a “HOMELESS” sign. Thing is, I know he’s a heroin addict – my husband has been working the ER several times when he’s been brought in for ODing. My struggle is having compassion without judging or enabling. Needless to say, this study is hard for me… I’m praying for my heart and mind to be opened to God’s will for me in this area.

    • Julie Ann

      You can help him without giving him money to buy drugs. Take him a cheeseburger,fries,bottled water at mealtime. Drop off some coffee and a donut at breakfaat. And PRAY for him. God is entirely capable of doing the rest :)

  • rebekahchilders

    Haha! Loved this piece. And I really wish someone would say all this to the faux/staged Kinfolk "gatherings"!

  • wow. this same verse was used during our sermon at church yesterday when we started our new series on adoption. amazing when these things link together like God is doubly telling me something

  • This is always hard for me because I am so naturally shy. I feel awkward around all people, so trying to reach out and be kind or helpful to strangers makes me feel so uncomfortable. I pray the Lord will give me strength to step out of thay comfort zone and do what He wills us to do.

    • Cari Spaulding

      The Lord can show us that we can love and can show hospitality in ways that we would never even think of. With the correct postured heart, I’m sure you can do it! Keep up the good work!

  • E. Brockhoff

    As I am reading and meditating through this series, I'm realizing that what I have always considered to be hospitality is probably better defined as entertaining. I'm realizing that I'm good at entertaining friends instead of welcoming strangers. So convicting and so perfect for this time of year.

  • Mmm…Yup this was hard for me. Mostly because right now, I feel like my husband and I are the ones with the "strangeness". We are living in a new town, very temporarily. Our church, our home, our LIFE here is extremely temporary. In a few months, we'll most likely be gone. I constantly feel like we're the strange new people with the strange job that keeps us on the move in our strange life. But that doesn't get me "out" of the call to hospitality. There was no, "Love God and love your neighbors as yourself [except if you're feeling like a stranger]" clause in today's passage.

    • Kylee

      Emily, I feel you. Take it one day at a time & volunteering really helps! A local food shelf or FMSC packing site might help you meet others who have a broader perspective of who our “neighbor” is <3

  • Sarah Martin

    I love how the word hospitality has been flipped over and redefined all for God's GLORY here. Amen! I prayed as I read the Scripture that He would highlight some scenerios that I need to be more hospitable and open my doors wider to even those that make things uncomfortable. Looking toward Thanksgiving and how I can live this series out at our dinner table and in welcoming in those who would not necessarily bring anything to the table but the fact that they are God's children. Thank you for this today!

  • unsilencedme

    Oh good grief this is so hilarious I haven't stopped laughing since reading it. Why? Because this is all so lovely and elegant in print but in 41 years those who have been the most vicious, the most hateful, and the most backbiting to me and my family are Christians!!! We have Atheist and other non-believing or non-church attending genuine friends who have very graciously joined us in the hardest of places AFTER those in a conservative Baptist "Christian fellowship" went out of their way to cast us aside and ultimately get rid of us. You see, we weren't rich enough, didn't live in the right neighborhood, didn't drive the best cars, and weren't white middle to upper class elitist enough to truly be accepted into their fold. We were, however, entirely good enough to be used and completely taken advantage of for three years. People certainly knew our phone numbers when they needed something or we could somehow serve a purpose for them….help with child care, help with painting their house, help with caring for their dog, help with anything and everything THEY needed regardless of how much time, effort, and money it took on our part. But our needs were entirely insignificant, too complicated, and even challenged as to whether or not they were even truth. We never asked for anything special, only to be accepted and treated with the same modicum of respect and compassion we showed to others. Instead, when our purpose ran out, the very people we called friends began gossiping, backbiting, and running us down to anyone and everyone until we were completely ostracized and marginalized by everyone we used to know. In the meantime, they came out appearing like sweet little innocent victims, an image they eat up to this day. We were left utterly broken, alone, and yes, angry. You people want to write beautiful stories about compassion and hospitality? Start by addressing those fake, holier than thou, elitist, arrogant, narcissistic, attention hogs who give your entire institution a very ugly face. Don't write pretty little stories about helping the widows and the orphans…these types eat that crap up just by going and collecting some more children they can place up on a shelf for all to see their superior holiness and super Christianity…all the while they use up and stomp all over the every day decent people in the pews or in the streets right next to them.

    • Sarah

      Unsilencedme-I understand that hurt. I understand the pain which others can cause. I am so sorry that you were treated unkindly by those professing to love Christ. We are all sinners. We are all broken. We all have much room to grow when it comes to shining the love of Christ. I too left the church for years because of less than ideal representation from the members of the body of Christ. But I came back because the love of Christ is so real and so strong and so worth it. I want to be in a church praying and working with the Body of Christ to reflect His love. All churches will be full of people who are not 100% there yet. But I pray that you know how truly loved by God you are and how beautiful His love is. Thank you for posting honest, real words.

    • emilymueller143

      I am so, so sorry that you experienced this kind of pain and hurt. I have no idea what happened or how it all went down, but it sounds like there was a lot of wrong done against you, and that just really sucks. Thanks for being honest! I, too, have experienced pain and hurt from fellow Christians. And it is the WORST – because these are the very people are supposed to be better, right?!? But even God's people (if those in that church are truly God's people, which it sounds like they might need some soul-searching time to decide if they're truly following Him) do things that are evil and hurtful.

      I hope you stick around here. I think you'll find lots of people here are working on their fakeness, holier-than-thouness, and elitest attitudes, and basically trying to follow Jesus as best we can. Praying for you this morning, Unsilencedme. Let us know how we can help and love you – even if it's "just" through a computer screen.

    • Megan

      I completely understand where you’re coming from. I grew up in a church and then basically, got kicked out. It’s a tough situation. Feeling like you just give and give and give to people who profess the love of God and not feeling like they even remember you exist is hard. But here’s the thing I’ve slowly learned. I’m here on this earth, by the grace of God to serve people in His name. As long as my intentions are good, I’d keep helping those who need it. Even if they do seem selfish and are hypocritical. Because in the end, I want to hear that “Well done good and faithful servant”. People are hard to deal with.
      I think we just say “orphans and widows” because it’s what’s in scripture, but it isn’t just orphans and widows. It’s the man on the street without a home, it’s your neighbor who might be the meanest and grumpiest old man, it’s the people you feel exhausted by. Maybe even especially the kind of people you’re talking about. Because if we can show them hospitality, dang. We’re doing it right. God sees us. He sees every single thing we’re doing. And the good news, is that He can see straight to our heart.

    • Monika

      What you describe is similar to why my family ceased attending a baptist church as well. It is so similar in fact that I wonder if by some weird happenstance it is the same people we have encountered. I am sorry you experienced such ugliness at the hands of a church.

    • gingerparks

      I am sorry this happened to you and your family. I can relate to some degree as my mother was kicked out of church because my dad left her. But as stated before, the church is made up of sinners. We ALL fall short. Not one of us is perfect. She Reads Truth is a group of people who love Christ and strive to follow HIS ways, this being said, doesn't mean we won't fail again at some point. The glorious thing about Jesus and our one true Judge, He extends forgiveness and grace. For this I am thankful. After being hurt by people within the church walls, my mother's heart was hardened, years of prayers that I brought before the Lord because of the hurt mom felt, finally softened. She sees and understands we are all human, we fail people, and its another reason to strive to be like Jesus and seek Him in all things. I pray that you will find that forgiveness is the lesson Jesus portrayed on the cross for us sinners.

  • Elizabeth

    It's so eye opening how that when we ignore that chance to be hospitable to a stranger, we are ignoring Christ himself. It puts it into a completely different light that you can't ignore. I try to be hospitable but i also have been taught growing up that people hurt people. I tend to put up a guard so that I won't get hurt but Jesus tells us something completely different. Strength and trust in God is something that I am praying for! Very thankful for this devotion this morning! :)

    • Sarah Martin

      This is so true. It is easy to build up walls out of self preservation…not to get hurt. I'm with you. This Scripture for today is such a challenging word picture to think about and live out. Yes!

  • Laura Jean

    My husband and I are going through Job- one thing the lord has been showing us is sometimes you just need to sit with those that are hurting. You need to listen and just be there. I’m learning hospitality doesn’t happen just on my couch or kitchen table, it doesn’t I gave to entertain. It simply means I welcome those in and bring them to a place of rest.

  • I have been so blessed by everyone’s comments during this study, and especially today. Thank you all for sharing your hearts with this community. I am learning so much! The big thing that jumped out at me this morning was the idea of the Golden Rule. We normally don’t think of it in terms of hospitality, but what if we did? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Show the kind of hospitality you would wish to receive. It’s making me think this morning. Have a blessed Monday sisters!

  • I am in a season of life where I work from home and am in a city where I know few people. My husband is pursuing a degree in this city, and then we will probably leave in another year and a half. All reasons why I rationalize staying removed, not getting too close to the city and its people. But this study is pushing that comfort that I am clinging to. I pray to be open to others and to shine hospitality and love. I am not really comfortable in that, but that does not matter. Comfort is not the purpose for which I was created. #love

    • emilymueller143

      Kind of in the same boat here. My husband and I are missionaries raising financial support. The city we currently live in will (hopefully) only be our home for 2 1/2 more months – 6 months in grand total. It's hard to want to invest in ANYONE or anything.

      • Sarah

        EmilyMueller143-what an amazing opportunity to serve as missionaries! :) I am praying that God lead you to where you can serve while you are there, and I am praying for the same thing for myself. It is so much easier to not reach out…but I want to do more. Not just what is easy. Also, please know that your message and reaching out right here meant a lot! :)

        • Emily

          Thanks! We're so, so excited about what we get to do. Thanks for praying for us. We're praying for that, too.

  • Good words, Sheila!

  • This study has come at a time when I have already been evaluating how I should be treating others. God continues to place people in front of me that need the hospitality he describes in his word. Hospitality is not inviting people over for dinner, hospitality is meeting the needs of the people around me whether it is in my home or in theres. It is showing them God by serving them and meeting their needs. My next door neighbor is only 45 years old and was diagnosed with MS about a year ago. I have not seen her outside her home in over 4 months. They are very private people and won't ask for anything, so what does God tell me do, Cook and Deliver, Cook and Deliver. A young man stole a $1 eraser at my school book fair the other day, i called him on it, and yes he is one of those kids no one wants to be around. I took the eraser, and asked him what he would really like to have from the fair, he picked up a book, and yes I bought him the book, talked to him about stealing, and sent him on his way. By school rules, I should have written him up, but God told me different in that moment. These are just 2 examples of ways God has pushed me to be "hospitable" in the last few days. I pray that he continues to put them in my path, that His Holy Spirit continues to nudge me, and that I respond the way he would have me to do so.

  • I live surrounded by an apple orchard (my property borders it–it belongs to someone else). So for three to four weeks out of each year hundreds of people are walking through what seems like "my backyard". I have gotten into the habit of telling city folk acquaintances that should they be in the area, make sure to stop by and say hi, or just use our "powder room". My challenge to them is to catch me on a Saturday morning still in my PJs doing house work, or with papers all sprawled out on the kitchen counter because I want my heart to be ready at all times to receive guest. I want my pride broken, and my servant’s heart exploding. Yes I've been caught in my PJs once, and Mrs. Neat Freak showed up once too–and I didn't fall apart because my house wasn't picture perfect like when I'm giving a planned party. I pray that I can grow in this attitude that my home is open and ready 24/7 for whomever Christ will lead to it.

  • Caroline

    I'm praying for you and your Mum, Tina. God's peace and comfort in His grace to you both.

  • jerrahlee

    Lord, I confess my apathy to you. Forgive me that I know in my head what is right, but my body doesn't get up and move. I pray that my heart would burn with passion for the people around me. I pray for YOUR strength and YOUR endless amount of energy as I meet people and show them the love and hospitality you call us to.

  • Camille Alexandria

    I’ve found that we have made hospitality a hobby, especially in the South. You have parties and guidelines and that one special table cloth that screams “HOSPITALITY” to you. But God is telling us that hospitality goes beyond opening up your home, but opening up your heart. We all hope and pray that if we really needed it, someone, stranger or not, would help us. But how can we expect that and never go through life doing the same? Hospitality can literally cost nothing– a smile, a friendly chat, simple things to make someone feel more at ease.

    • Sabrina

      This is what struck me today as well! If I am in the midst of difficulty, I would want someone to help me, yet how often do I do that for others? Very convicting today.

  • A great challenging study as Thanksgiving approaches. How many of the “least of these” are we willing to invite into our home for a Thanksgiving meal? Who has God put on your heart to reach out to? Lord, may we be so very mindful of the needs of others, of the “least of these”. Move in us through Your Spirit to be changed through how we view our hospitality. In Jesus Name, Amen.

  • Heather F.

    I am so grateful for this devotion today. It is right.where.i.am. We announced yesterday that our family has answered the call to love overseas to a closed, communist country- one of the hungriest in the world- and spend two years loving the least of these. I know it won’t be easy. Hospitality there will look much different than it does to me here. But I am so grateful that I can rely on the Holy Spirit to know how to love those in the midst of their difficulties and see strangers become family.

    • LindaCC

      Wow Heather! May God bless your willingness to go where He leads! May He open your eyes to all the opportunities He puts in front of you! True hospitality comes from your heart and I'm sure you and your family will be awesome!

  • Tina–

    You are being prayed for from a girl in Kentucky. Look forward to meeting you in heaven and hearing how God met this situation creatively, majestically, and in a perfectly gentle way.

    In His Name, Amen.

  • Praying for COMPASSION today and the willingness to get my hands dirty, literally and figuratively for His Glory.

  • So very convicting. Lord, help me be hospitable to the least of these.

  • Elaine Allen

    Though this passage deal specifically with extending hospitality to Jewish people during the tribulation, there is real application for us too. The reward for hospitality in the scriptural example is to be allowed as a non-Jew into the millennial kingdom. The tribulation will bring great travail to the Jewish people. Some will have an opportunity to love them. Praying for those ‘some’ today, as the time seems to be approaching

  • Oh, I struggle with this. I have a sister that takes and takes…and I get so frustrated and angry. The situation has been on my mind a lot and I’ve been praying about it. I believe He is speaking to me through this reading today. Continue to love the difficult, the ungrateful (and dirty and angry and all of those things), as they’re not mine to judge.

    Thank you for this today!

    • stacie

      Oh, I could have written this myself this morning after railing all weekend in my heart about my own sister. How sometimes I truly (sadly) wish I could just walk away. But my birth family is lost and Jesus reminds me that I need to let Him love them, thru me. Its not about me but about Him. Praying for you too this morning, Michele, that God would pour out His love on them, thru us. Amen.

  • Lacey Barnwell

    Jut yesterday I noticed about 5 different times when I avoided hospitality… Or just plan kindness to others. Having been taught that people can be hurtful and/or dangerous my whole childhood I tend to shun away from being friendly… God forbid I simply smile at someone in the grocery store! God please continue to change my heart and my actions! Please help me to be more like you! More gracious and loving! Help me to greet strangers openly and in doing so show them your gospel! Thank you God for this eye opening study!

  • stinav96

    I believe hospitality can begin in the simple act of looking another in the eye and acknowledging their existence in this fast-paced, me-me-me world. I used to do that, but after so many years of doing it, became jaded that I was being inconvenienced, that people really don't care if I acknowledge them, that sometimes I actually make people feel uncomfortable and observed when I do it, that it sometimes invites unwanted attention, that I have things to do and I don't really have time for the opportunities it creates. Ouch! I decided I wanted to "fit in" with the unconcerned world around me, rather than stand out as someone who cares about the least around me. Talk about conviction this morning! Lord, bring me back to You, my first Love. My love has grown cold, and I need You to shine Your warm light through me. Do not let me be found an unfaithful church, like we read about in the book of Revelation. Thank you for your conviction. Change me. In Jesus' Name.

    • LaurieEW

      Thanks for your words Stinav96. I don't know if it's age, rejection, hurts, or just plain old laziness; but I've become so cynical. This lesson is so full of conviction. Along with you I pray that we will again open our hearts and lives to show Jesus, through our hospitality.

  • I like how uncomfortable this scripture is making me. It shows there is a need for some realignment… but i love the idea of creating a space where strangers can lose their strangeness. There is a beautiful kind of safety it offers people/us/me to just be known. That’s simple, but hard, but oh so worth it!

  • How often are we all too happy to offer hospitality as long as it doesn’t involve stepping outside our warm, safe, and clean little comfort zone? As long as we can look and feel good; not actually having to get our hands dirty by stepping into the middle of someone else’s mess?

    Father, lead me where You would have me meet a need. Even when it doesn’t meet my image if where I would want to serve. Help me to meet others where they are, so they can come to know You In The Holy name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

    Beckey

    http://reallyreallyrealhousewives.blogspot.com

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/queenbsbusywork

  • cricketbutler

    As a girl raised in the south, hospitality is a way of life. I was taught the art of hosting a family dinner, making cucumber sandwiches, and of course sweet tea. But as I read this devotional series on biblical hospitality my heart is full and my eyes are opened to the truth of real hospitality. Not that what I've been taught is wrong, southern hospitality is still a real thing, mind you… But biblical hospitality is so much sweeter.

    Now as I raise my own daughter I am so thankful that God has put this truth into my heart so that I may pass it along to her. I pray for the wisdom and guidance to teach her that when she seeks opportunities to love and serve others that she is loving and serving Jesus. I pray that God uses me as an example and that I do not overlook the opportunities that He places in my life to live out this beautiful hospitality.

  • Open my eyes Lord that I would not miss those I need to see.

    • stinav96

      Amen! And then give me courage and grace to act on the needs You open my eyes to see! Thanks, Tammy!

  • Scripture is calling me far from my manners and my Pinterest-perfect recipes into the depths of another person’s difficulty……, we are not being called to solve their difficulties, but to show true love…God's love and hand to a fellow citizen of the kingdom, another heir,( in the making, if not already there) in a bad place…or circumstances…..
    …'There ..but for the Grace …of God….' I have heard that sentence from time to time….and today it comes full circle at me like a train….I am blessed right now, with a roof over my head…I am blessed right now that I have my health, I am blessed right now that the sun shines on a rainy day, I am blessed right now, that although I have stuff going on, I have family, to hug me, love me, sit with me, cry with me….and most, most importantly…I have God's Grace….I believe God has his eye on this sparrow…because this 'sparrow' is holding fast and strong to Him…right now, trusting and standing on His promises, His word….

    My sunshine on a rainy day…has just disappeared via a phone call from home.(just now)…my mum is ill and money is needed to get her to the hospital….money at the moment is tight, and yet….I have to find it somehow….this is my mum…I weep and pray as I write….hospitality surely begins at home….but..my calling to love those who are disenfranchised, lonely, have no one…the forgotten..to stretch out my hands and home in love..is important…it's truth……..My mum has me, she is not forgotten, she is not lonely…and I will by God's Grace find the money to get her to the hospital…. because I trust and stand on His promises…., but those out there, those who have no one need to know Gods love, God's amazing love, so layer by layer their strangeness can be shed….into friendship, understanding, and very most importantly HOPE…..and Jesus…in their lives…

    Lord God thank you for your exceptional love for me, your Grace and love that I know so so well…Thank you Lord God that, we are ALL your children, and that we all deserve to know you fully….and that my knowing you, allows me to be you, to show your love to another brother or sister in their time of difficulty, whatever the circumstances…Help me Lord God, not to pass people by, because I have 'stuff', but that in spite of 'my stuff'…hold out these hands and show love as you have shown me……Thank you Lord God, for mummy, and all she means to me…Lord I pray your angels be with her, keeping her comfortable and peaceful….Lord I look to you in this dark hour…that your mercy and Grace be on her…Thank you Lord God for everything…in the Mighty name of Jesus, I pray…And so it is….

    Sisters, might I reach across the oceans and ask for your prayers….Thank you so very much….

    Praying your day is blessed abundantly Sister's….God be with you….xxx

    • Monica0829

      Tina, I'm agreeing in prayer with you for your Mom's full recovery. Heavenly Father we pray for Tina's mom this morning. I pray Lord that she will see the Lord’s graces when she needs them most. I pray for your certainty when she might be tempted to see only uncertainty around her situation.
      Have mercy, O loving God, upon her. I pray her healing power over her. Grant her strength and hope to envision new days ahead and a spirit of faith for full recovery. We pray for your grace and strength for Tina as she helps her Mom, I place all our concerns in your loving hands. These blessings we ask in your precious name. Amen

    • Onfaith

      Tina, I will be praying over your Mom and the financials involved. That is such a terrible thing to have to think to when we just want our loved one to be well again. I'm praying a blessing upon you, a miraculous delivery of a means to provide care for your Mom and her complete healing. Prayerful that in this she has peace and feels God's covering over her and that you do as well. I lift this situation up and ask God to make profound changes in the coming days. Lord, clearly provide a way and direct the proper people, medically and personally to it. Provide healing and illuminate this as a testimony that will show your glory and Grace. Love you Tina. Remaining in prayer. ~ B

    • stinav96

      Praying now for you and your mom, Tina, to the God Who is never late in His provisions. May you and your mom taste and see the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord in financial and healing providence. In Jesus' Name.

    • Lacey Barnwell

      Praying right now for your mom, Tina. And for you.

    • jenig23

      Prayers for you and your mom this morning sweet friend.

    • Laresa

      Praying for you and your family today, Tina!

    • Marti Pack

      Lord, I agree with my sisters in prayer. Provide the resources and all that miss Tina needs. Thank you for your faithfulness and all of your blessings.

    • Pam

      Tina, if you set up one of these and post the link, there are those of us who can help a little. http://www.microgiving.com. Praying for you and your mom. Just know that you are loved by your sisters around the world.

    • Sabrina

      Tina, prayers are being said for you and your mom from Missouri today. The kids and I have added you to our prayer list. We are trusting that God will provide you the resources to get your mom well. Our God is faithful.

    • stacie

      Praying for you and your mom, tina.

    • Catherine_K_L

      Tina, Praying for you and your Mother this morning. It is heartbreaking to see a parent's health decline. I empathize with you and reach across the pond with large hugs, today. May God bless you with provision and sustaining grace today.

    • ButterflyBre

      Praying for you and your Mom today. HE will provide what is needed because HE said HE meets our needs according to HIS riches in Glory

    • Brendasan01

      Prayers going up for your Mum today Tina. May the Lord heal her completely and may the finances be abundant.

    • Wtafta

      A few days behind in this study, but blessed by his words now. Tina, I am praying now for you and for your Mums recovery. I am praying right now she/you feel his presence in a mighty way!

  • TheresaMMeacham

    This is an angle on hospitality that is so beautiful to read, and yet can be so difficult to live! It's fun to host a dinner party, but to dive into the depths of someone's pain over a coffee might be the truer definition of hospitality as you so wonderfully noted, Hayley. I know I'm guilty of just going after the "clean hospitality" at times as opposed to getting dirty with the messes of others' lives. Thankfully, I've experienced real hospitality from women who've been willing to walk with me, and I know it makes all the difference. Thanks for reminding me that hospitality is more than clean sheets and a cooked meal. It's a matter of the heart.
    Blessings to everyone today, ladies!

    • jerrahlee

      "Dive in the depths of someone's pain over coffee" – this spoke directly to me. Praying for more opportunities like this and the strength and wisdom to handle those conversations!

      • TheresaMMeacham

        I know you'll be a blessing to many with such a willing and beautiful heart, @jerrahlee! Have a great Monday :)

    • Emily

      I love what you wrote about “clean” and “dirty” hospitality. Thanks for sharing that this morning!

      • TheresaMMeacham

        Thanks, Emily! Maybe the clean/dirty analogy was a natural result of me writing that comment while sitting in a very not so clean home :) Have a wonderful day!!

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