I would even say it is an attitude that all humans should have.
A good example of how we show hospitality in our lives is when we have people come to our homes.
At a time of new birth, wedding, new neighbors, etc. A school graduation could be another example when we show some hospitality. Other examples when we show hospitality are on holidays.
You do it on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and in the Summer vacation when family members visit.
But, what we’re looking at today is more than only having family or friends come on special occasions.
A Scripture that can help us with that is from Matthew 25: 34-46. This biblical passage is a story Jesus shares with the disciples about the end of time.
As you read, beginning with verse 31, three truths come out of this Scripture.
The first truth is that Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, will come again.
Keep in mind that Jesus, in this Scripture, is implying His return to earth.
Chapters following Matthew 25 are about the plot against Jesus leading to His death on the cross.
You know the story and how Jesus would end up arrested, and condemned to death on the cross.
As the story would unfold, Jesus would not stay dead. He raised from the dead and appeared to a lot of His disciples, including the Apostle Paul and many others.
After about forty days of being with the disciples, Jesus would ascend into heaven. His ascension took place in real time. It was not a dream or vision. The disciples saw Him go up into the skies.
But, as they were watching, they heard a voice from the sky saying that Jesus will come back. Here’s what Acts 1: 10-11 (ESV) describes it:
And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand to look into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.
The second truth is Jesus will judge the world when He comes back.
Let’s get back to Matthew 25, with focus on verses 31 through 33 (ESV).
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
It is clear now that we will some day give an account of whatever we choose to be and do throughout our lives in this world.
This judgment will separate some from the others. One group goes to God’s left and the other to God’s right.
As you read the rest of Matthew 25, this separation comes out of how all these people will have lived their lives. The people on the right will inherit the Kingdom.
We also hear Jesus say, through the story, that God has prepared God’s Kingdom for the people on the right. Read verse 34. But, God will send the people on God’s left to the eternal fire. Pay attention to verse 41,
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
What we notice is that God has made two kinds of inheritance, based on the story. First, in verse 34, the inheritance of God’s kingdom is for people: you and I.
God has it in His in mind for all humankind. But, He cannot force us into getting. Here’s where our free will comes into play. We’ve got to accept God’s gift or reject it.
Second, in verse 41, the eternal fire is for the devil and his angels. God did not make it for any of us. It is not our place to be when Jesus comes back. God never intended this for humankind.
But, our present choices will determine where we will be in the end: eternity in fire or eternity in God’s Kingdom.
How do we inherit God’s kingdom in the end and avoid going to the eternal fire? Jesus’ answer is what we find in verses 35 through 36.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ ESV.
These two verses have to do with two attitudes: hospitality and generosity. Today, our focus is on hospitality, and we will speak of generosity in the next post.
God has prepared God’s Kingdom for you and me since the beginning of time. That’s why Paul is saying to the Church in Rome,
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15: 7. ESV.
Responding to God’s grace pays off in the end. In other words, hospitality is rewarding.
We are hospitable not because we only have to do it. But, we show hospitality because of God’s glory and Kingdom here on earth.
We also learn, through Matthew 25, that hospitality helps us learn how to see Jesus in people. Read verses 37 through 40,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
We see Jesus in other people, and whatever we do to each one of them, we do it to Jesus. Whenever you hurt somebody, you hurt Jesus Christ. And, whenever you make someone happy, you make Jesus happy.
Hospitality, being our response to God’s grace, is a spiritual discipline. It goes hand in hand with keeping yourself undefiled from the world, sin and evil ways of life. Read James 1: 27,
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unsustained from the world. ESV.
It’s a practicing to see Jesus Christ in people. And, as you do it, you learn how to be a better Christian leader. As a result of doing so, you’ll get to see yourself in the following ways:
- An Encourager. When everyone feels so down, you’ll be there to uplift and encourage them.
- A Person who inspires hope. When everything seems so hopeless, you’ll share words that give hope.
- A Servant. Wherever there is a need, you’ll make time to be available to serve. You’ll also be able to invite others into serving.
- A Role model. You are a mentor and coach for someone else. You show others how to do something and walk with them as they learn how to do it.
Bringing it together
Hospitality is a choice you’ve got to make. You choose to respond to God’s grace. Doing so makes you an encourager, someone who inspires hope, a servant, and role model. In the end, there is an eternal reward waiting for you!