True hospitality means something different than we think – not just a meal, and maybe not an occasion to use the good china. In this deeply thoughtful article, Rosaria Butterfield gives us 10 reasons we need to reconsider why, how, and how often we practice hospitality.
By Rosaria Butterfield
1. Hospitality reflects the gospel
Faithful Christians are – and have always been – a strange minority in a hostile world. Redeemed by Christ, we have lost our old lives – and with our lives, we have left behind the history, identity, and people who once claimed us. Conversion to Christianity starts with the sacrifice of what once was, and the gospel provides for what we have relinquished through hospitality. When Peter says to Jesus, “See, we have left everything and followed you,” Jesus responds with this comfort: “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold, now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10: 28–30). The gospel comes with a house key, and that key unlocks the “hundredfold” of God’s provision of family and community for others. Hospitality is the ground zero of the Christian life.
2. Hospitality is spiritual warfare
Hospitality that gathers brothers and sisters alongside unsaved neighbors and strangers isn’t charity or kindness; rather, it takes the gospel upstream of the culture war – where it belongs – and shakes the very gates of heaven for the souls of our neighbors. When we are in each other’s lives daily, we are not operating with ignorance or stereotypes about other people and their “lifestyles.” We don’t have to wonder what our unbelieving neighbor thinks about us, because he is sitting right here, passing the potatoes and telling us exactly what he thinks. At our house, when the meal is finished, the children pass around Bibles and my husband, Kent, begins nightly practice of family devotions, where all are welcome to join. My neighbors know that they can leave, but usually, they don’t.