In I Timothy, Paul lists hospitality as a requirement for high office in the church, and he emphasizes in Romans that we are to “practice hospitality.” I Peter 4:9 stresses this again, saying we are to “practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another.” The King James Version translates I Timothy 3:2:
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality…
Those who desire to lead in the church—the early church called them “bishops”—need to have a very intentional leaning to offer hospitality. This requirement only emphasizes that hospitality is more than just a human talent, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit, It is a supernatural ministry which, when combined with righteous living, bathed in prayer, and dedicated to the Lord, can be used by God far beyond anything we ask or think.
Scripture indicates that the Judeo-Christian heritage is rooted in hospitality. A theme of hospitality runs through the Bible—a design for open-heartedness to all people. We are to share what we have with those in need. We are to open our selves and our homes.
I am overwhelmed when I envision the results of a corporate return to the principles of Scriptural openness. For instance: Think of the impact the church could make in society if only four or five families in each congregation would care for needy children, nurturing them in love and pointing them to Christ. If a large urban area has a hundred churches, four or five homes times a hundred would involve at least four or five hundred children.
It is important that we do not think of hospitality as strictly a woman’s prerogative. In fact, this ministry is also the responsibility of men—indeed, of the entire Christian family.
If any of these thoughts I’m sharing are beginning to resonate with you, I invite you to return to this blog for the next installment. I’m drawing a contrast between “entertaining” and “hospitality.” Our world, today, desperately needs Christians willing to follow Christ in extending true hospitality to people who need the gentle touch of our Savior’s love.
Karen Mains has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
For decades, Karen Mains and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
In addition, pastors will find special resources to help them create effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.