Day 8

Move From Hostility to Hospitality

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

BY Hayley Morgan

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.



Post Comments (103)

103 thoughts on "Move From Hostility to Hospitality"

  1. SarahBeth says:

    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!

  2. Leslie Annette Watson says:

    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

  3. Cheryl says:

    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.

  4. Taylor S says:

    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!

    1. Allie M. says:

      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.

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