One of the great virtues in Scripture is hospitality. Faithful families in the Old Testament received visitors into their homes, sometimes hosting them for days, providing for and protecting their guests. The apostle Peter urged his readers to “show hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9). Paul identified hospitality as a necessary qualification for elders in a church (1 Timothy 3:2).
Hospitality includes welcoming, receiving, hosting, and providing for guests. It means showing kindness to others, be they friends or even strangers, as was often the case in the Bible. Hospitality is better experienced than exegeted, but it means that we open our homes, give of ourselves, and share our goods for the good of others. We don’t show hospitality because our guests deserve it as much as because they are benefited by it.
Where do we learn hospitality? Why is it such a valued virtue? Because hospitality is divine. Who receives others like God does? Who provides for others, not because they are great but because He wants to treat them greatly? Who has spared no expense to give good things to strangers? Who makes guests feel more welcome, strangers feel more at home, better than our God?
Stinginess is one of the great vices of our Christian culture, right behind isolation. Calculating how to share the least is not wise, it is ungodly. Paul chastised the well-to-do Corinthians for not doing so well as they hoarded for themselves (1 Corinthians 11:20-22). The communion meal, meant to illustrate lavish grace, great cost, and abundant provision, was instead used as an opportunity to serve self.
There is a lesson learned around the Lord’s Table that we should take to all our tables. Give as has been given to you. Invite the undeserving, shower guests with care. Treat others with the portion you would enjoy. Christ is a great host and He invites us to eat and drink with Him at His cost.