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. AllisonH says:

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

  2. Lydia W says:

    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!!

  3. I like your blog so….

  4. Liz Newman says:

    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.

  5. Samantha Kelley says:

    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.

  6. Lea says:

    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!!!

    1. Sarah says:

      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.

  7. jesuslives87 says:

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

  8. Elizabeth says:

    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!

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