A culture of hospitality is created when hosts believe time, space, and individual persons matter to God.

In the Incarnation, God invaded the world of time and space. He subjected himself to the full gamut of human development and confined himself to particular physical parameters. Jesus did not consider “equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6-7). In so doing, God affirmed the inherent dignity of time and space not only in the act of creation but throughout the course of redemption.

We echo the Incarnation’s affirmation by making the best use of time and space for redemptive purposes. Life in this world is not to be squandered but consecrated. As animated sanctuaries, we “offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship” (Rm. 12:1). Our moments matter. When opportunities arise either by subtle providence or by strategic preparation to show hospitality, we make the best use of time and space by doing so.

AA-creating a culture of hospitality-quote

God’s subtle providence ensures that we have no insignificant social interactions. The casual greeting of a grocery store clerk, the expressing of thanks for a barista’s service, or the lending of an ear to a frustrated traveler are opportunities to exercise Christ-honoring, creature-dignifying hospitality. Let’s “not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2). In order to discern God’s subtle providence and see the significance of today’s social interactions, we probably need to slow down. Rather than rushing pass strangers on the streets let’s slow down and discern how we might create a culture of hospitality through greeting, gratitude, and compassionate generosity.

In the New Testament, the accent of hospitality falls upon how Jesus’s disciples relate to strangers as well as to those who are not yet apart of His kingdom. In Luke 14:12, Jesus says, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.” The Savior then connects these priorities with the hospitality of His Kingdom. “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God! . . . Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in that my house may be filled” (Lk. 14:15, 21). The ebb and flow of hospitality should reach rhythmically beyond one’s immediate faith community.

If disciples of Jesus only socialize with people who match their socio-economic or cultural profiles, then they are not engaging in gospel hospitality. Since God’s love for individual persons stretches beyond the categories of socio-economic or subcultural status, our social interactions should as well. In order to create a culture of hospitality, we must plan strategically to do so. Practically, this looks as simple as throwing a party and inviting a diverse group of people. But this also means we must step across the comfortable confines of our preferred subcultures.

AA-creating a culture of hospitality-socia-economic

God’s subtle providence, strategic planning, and love for individual persons converge in the gospel. When God took on flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus, He crossed the greatest cultural divide in the cosmos. He did not enter the world with pomp and praise, but according to the subtle providence inherent within Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem and rearing in Nazareth. Strategically, He did so at just the right time in order to execute redeeming love for individual persons. “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5).

The world did not show hospitality to the Son of God. Jesus lived a life of rejection only to die via crucifixion. As the risen and reigning Savior, Jesus does not reject the world as the world rejected Him. Instead, He extends grace and offers redemption to the world. Luke 12:37 says, “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.” In that moment, the Great High Priest will serve as the Great High Host. A culture of hospitality will characterize the kingdom of heaven. Until that day comes and in light of the gospel, we serve as hospitable hosts in an inhospitable world.

Reflection Questions:

1. Is your life currently reflecting the value God places on time, space, and individual persons?

2. How might you slowdown in order to discern God’s subtle providence and see the significance of all your daily social interactions?

3. As you plan your week, how will you carve out time and space to exercise hospitality?

Share This