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Categorized | From the Pulpit

Being hospitable

Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd NE, Rockford

www.gracerockford.com

Hospitality is becoming more and more a foreign idea in our culture. One of the perhaps unintended consequences of covid and our response to it is that we have become more comfortable with isolation. We were told to keep our distance and so we just got used to not interacting with others like we used to. What used to be a conversation at the grocery store has turned into a wave or a nod. We quit shaking hands and started fist bumping, and if you’re a hugger like me, don’t even think about it. Even smiling at people was taken away while everyone walked around in masks, and we quit smiling because no one could see it. Now that most of the initial chaos that surrounded our early response is gone, I wonder if, as a society, we’ve just accepted being less hospitable as the new norm?

The dictionary defines hospitality like this, “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, and generous way.” Hospitality is all about the posture in which we welcome and receive others. Being hospitable is one of the easiest and clearest ways that we can “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-40).

If you’re like me, then you may have heard someone describe hospitality to you as a gift that certain people have and are really good at. And while being hospitable may come more naturally to some, if you are a follower of Christ, being hospitable is not an option. Romans 12:13b says, “Practice Hospitality”, and 1 Peter 4:9 tells us to “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” As followers of Christ we should be people who are known by our warm, friendly, and generous receiving and treating of others. In a world that seems to be getting more combative, cold, and less generous, we as the people of God can easily display the kindness and love of God by being a community known by our hospitality.  

So, the next time you make eye contact with a stranger, smile. The next time you reach the door to enter a building at the same time as another person, open it for them. The next time you meet someone new, shake their hand. The next time you see someone in distress and in need of assistance, don’t just walk by, take the time to see if you can help in any way. Who knows, your warm, welcoming and generous reception of someone else may lead to a chance for you to tell them all about our Jesus. 

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