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.

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Post Comments (103)

103 thoughts on "Move From Hostility to Hospitality"

  1. Jenny M says:

    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.

  2. Shablesw says:

    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.

  3. mandysheppard says:

    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.

  4. Kim says:

    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.

    1. Jaime Smith says:

      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…

  5. Christina says:

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

  6. Bethany says:

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

  7. Becky says:

    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.

    1. Becky says:

      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.

  8. Michele says:

    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.

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