“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” ~ROMANS 12:10-13 (See vs 9-21)
Hospitality, whenever many of us hear the word the first image that comes to mind is that of homecooked meals, friends and loved ones gathered around a table, smiling and sharing in one another’s company.
I know that I have often considered hospitality meant that I had to open my home, serve a meal and all that comes with it. And although that is indeed true to the definition, there is so much more to it and yet so much more glorious simplicity than what we typically assign to the word.
Hospitality isn’t about a location per se but more about meeting others in their need wherever they are.
It’s about being present and available in the moment, with undivided attention, no matter the location, but with sincerity and openness of heart.
THE ARMS OF HOSPITALITY
The right and left hand of hospitality are giving and receiving, with grace and mercy being at the heart and soul.
Giving: giving calls us to not just give of our possessions but, again, of our presence, time, and emotion. It calls us to be present in the circumstances of others as we minister to their needs. This comes from the heart.
Receiving: receiving calls us to not only carry the loads of our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as our neighbors who have not yet come to Christ, but it calls us to receive the goodness that they would like to pour out into us.
When we give to others, they often would like to respond in turn by giving unto us as well. We need to be gracious enough to receive as there is a blessing in store for both the one who gives and the one able to receive.
The beautiful image that comes to mind with the arms of hospitality is the perfect embrace, one that supports, fills up, and enables release.
Having a heart of hospitality brings healing. It also brings hope.
Let us all endeavor to have hearts of hospitality wherever we are whenever Christ would like to use us. For it is in His giving to us and receiving our praise in return that we are able to show His love to others in the same way!
~Poiema, Poetry in Motion