The doorbell rings at six o’clock as dinner is being set on the table. “I’m sorry,” you say, “but we are just sitting down to eat. We can’t talk now.” Who’s welcome at your house? This common scenario in the American household has devastating effect on our children and on our Christian witness. Who’s welcome at your house? Is anyone welcome, anytime? Is there always enough? Can we make room for one, or two or even ten more tonight?
Hospitality. Hospitality is being lost in our churches and in our families.
When we turn people away at mealtime instead of inviting them to join us at the table, we are teaching our children that hospitality is always planned and convenient, not spontaneous. When hospitality is practiced widely and broadly it is Christians serving others as members of their own family. I am reminded of the stories of Abraham and the 3 visitors or Lot and the angels in Genesis 18, Reuel and Moses in Exodus 2:20, Elisha and the Shunamite in 2Kings 4:8 or the widow of Zarephath in 1Kings 17:7-24. Each of these stories presents hospitality as something unplanned and inconvenient. They are stories where service is offered to those in need, even at personal cost.
Paul writes to the believers in Rome, “welcome one another, just as Christ welcomed you.” Hospitality is open handed invitation into the body of Christ. And as Christians, our home is part of that body. Our goal should be to invite people into our homes and to treat them in ways that flood them with the love and generosity of Jesus Christ.
Wether it is mealtime or the middle of the day. An invitation inside and some true devotion to the person at hand is the mark of the hospitable home. Slow down and welcome the intrusions. Share coffee with a friend or neighbor or even a complete stranger. Love on them as Christ loves on you. Teach your children about Christian hospitality and the world will be changed.
So the next time the doorbell rings at a meal, ask yourself, “Who’s welcome at this house?”