Here’s a suggestion: We should all wear antennas to work, to church, to school – antennas that pick up on people who seem out of place, whose loneliness shows. Why not be the one to approach these folks and extend friendship to them? Maybe you think the last thing you need is another friend. But friendliness – hospitality – is a virtue that brings as much joy to the giver as to the receiver.
When you extend hospitality to others, you’re not trying to impress people, you’re trying to refelect God to them. You don’t have to be rich to be hospitable. A wise friend once told me, “If you won’t give people hot dogs when you’re poor, you won’t give them steaks when you’re rich.” We shouldn’t let our pride get in the way of being hospitable.
We are here on earth to be God’s people. We are here to show others the same God who came to be a friend to the earth – that’s our task. maybe today you will meet someone who really needs a friend – and you can fill that need. Maybe you can make an eternal difference in that person’s life, just because you choose to be friendly today.
FATHER, as we set about the task of trying to be your people, we pray that you’ll help us. May we glorify your name, may we be open-minded, may we be sincere, may we be willing to change and grow. We thank you, LORD, for the privilege of being your people.
And to dig in a little deeper…here are some great verses on hospitality.
Romans 11:13 (The Message)
11-13Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
1 Peter 7:9 (The Message)
7-11Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
3 John 1:5-8 (The Message)
Model the Good
5-8Dear friend, when you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible. They’ve made a full report back to the church here, a message about your love. It’s good work you’re doing, helping these travelers on their way, hospitality worthy of God himself! They set out under the banner of the Name, and get no help from unbelievers. So they deserve any support we can give them. In providing meals and a bed, we become their companions in spreading the Truth.
I had a GREAT example modeled to me by my mom of how to be hospitable. But sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own life and my own little world that I completely forget how important it is to put on my antennas. This time of year especially it is important to be aware of those around you. Not everyone has the blessing of being a part of a warm family celebration. Many people are all alone or through circumstances out of their control have no way of getting home to their families. It’s a perfect time to reach out and extend a warm invitation to your family’s celebrations. I can tell you from experience that your kids will learn so much from doing this. Over my childhood years we often had other guests (many tourists passing through town, or other “foreigners” that we’d meet who found themselves without anyone to celebrate Christmas with) join us in our family gatherings. Great conversations, great life lessons, great moments that I will always treasure.
So, will you take the challenge? It requires intentionality and a willingness to go beyond your comfort zone! Will you reach for those antennas with me and start wearing them? If we all did this – imagine the impact we could have on those who are most often overlooked!!