Back in the days when Christ walked this earth, there were no hotels, motels, or B&B's. Sure there were some inns, but they were not as accessible or near as numerous as today. Those sojourning the earthly trails would most likely find themselves lodging for the night (or nights) in the home of a Christ-follower who willingly opened their humble abodes up to them.
I realize that times have changed, and it's not necessarily safe to open your home up to any old person who shows up on your doorstep and asks to come inside. I realize that. We need to think upon the safety of our families. However, if we're honest with ourselves, we're probably presented with more opportunities to open our home up to "strangers" (traveling missionaries, new visitors at church, etc.) than we take advantage of. Guilty here!
And, as we will discuss in the future, showing hospitality does not always necessarily mean bringing others into our home. Sometimes it is necessary to take hospitality on the road. And so, hospitality should really house itself in the depths of our hearts, ready to be taken to wherever He may call it and us to go.
So how do we nurture the growth of hospitality in our hearts? Well, the biggest and, by far, most effective thing to do is actually rather simple. Too simple, you may think.
As with everything in the faith life, prayer should come first. We should pray for a heart that is fertile to grow a hospitable way of life. We should pray for God to plant the roots of Biblical hospitality in our hearts. And then we should water those roots with more prayer and with studying God's Word on the topic. Look hospitality up in your Bible's topical index. And while you're at it, look up love. Be prepared to read a while with that one!
And it is also helpful to read what others have written on practicing hospitality. Prayer and God's Word first. Others' writings and thoughts next. And then we practice by doing. But don't wait until you think you have it all down-pat. We'll never be perfect in any area of our lives here on earth. God does not expect perfection (He knows it's unattainable, you know), and He doesn't want us to wait until we think we have it perfect. (We'd never do it then.) Instead, God wants us to step out in faith and do what His Word says. And His Word tells us to show hospitality to others so that He may be known. Give God the little that you have, and He will make it bigger than you ever thought possible. (Matthew 14:13-21)
Father, gracious Father ~ Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share your love with others. Your love is so great and deep and has no end. Please give us hearts that are soft and fertile. Fertile enough to grow Your way of hospitality. Plant down deep a desire to reach out to others and love them and care for them the way You do us. Help us to put aside our fears and anxieties regarding our abilities and instead commit all of our ways to You. And in You and through You, we will succeed. In Christ's name I pray, Amen.
Blessings to you all!