In light of the fact the most of the early churches met in homes, no wonder Paul gives instructions that the elders were to be “given to hospitality.” Yes, the New Testament body often congregated in their homes.
I am not by this advocating that everyone must return to the home church. Nor am I saying that buildings are inherently evil. I am advocating that we shift our attitudes on hospitality into a clearer perspective and thereby realize the important role our homes play in establishing community and enhancing a feeling of family.
If the early church could weave a potentially fractious society of Jews and Gentiles, men and women, slaves and free into an interrelating harmonious community, so can we. We must demonstrate to society that peace, justice, and brotherhood can exist in this world through the presence of Christ in a people.
When Jesus sent out the 70 in twos, he taught them to expect hospitality in return for their Kingdom work. As recorded in Matthew 10:9-11, take note of Jesus’ words:
“Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart.”
He continues to give even greater meaning to open hospitality with these words from the same chapter:
“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me…And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”
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.
Karen 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.
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 microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, 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.