Heavenly Hospitality
Mary Loudermilk
By:  Mary Loudermilk

"Given to hospitality" (Romans 12:13).


The hotdog rested majestically in the center of the fine bone china plate. The five-year-old cowboy never noticed the intricate design or the lovely gold rim. All he saw was food fixed just for him - cowboy food.


Mom and the others gathered around the table enjoyed ladylike fare presented prettily on that same Lenox pattern. Attentive to every detail, the hostess served a delicious lunch. That day I observed and learned true hospitality is the ability to make each guest feel comfortable and welcome. The attitude of the hostess rather than the expensiveness of the china created an atmosphere of warmth that even cowboys could enjoy.

Hospitality is biblical, a quality expected of the child of God. Titus 1:7-8 lists it as one qualification for the office of bishop, while I Timothy 5:10 says women in the congregation who are "widows indeed" should also exhibit it. Paul commended Phoebe, a saint in the church in Cenchrea, because she "hath been a succourer of many" (Romans 16:2).

In our busyness we sometimes feel we do not have the time or the money to entertain. Some are reluctant to invite others into their home because they fear they will be judged on the fineness of their furniture, the gleam of the crystal, or the fancy menu. Hospitality is more than "things." Some of the best times of friendship and sharing may be nothing more than Coke and cookies, a paper plate instead of Mikasa. A relaxed, simple time together appeals to most people. The fellowship makes the occasion, not the trappings. Don't wait until everything is picture-perfect before inviting someone in.


We often limit ourselves to those closest to us. While we think of young people as moving in cliques, adults also frequently stay within their same small group of friends. We don't take the time to expand our social contacts beyond those comfortable few. The Bible, however, speaks of three distinct groups to whom we should offer hospitality: strangers, our enemies, and fellow saints.

In Bible times, before the days of Marriott, Hilton, or the motel that "leaves the light on for you," weary travelers were taken into the homes of townspeople (Job 31:32). Abraham quickly extended an invitation in Genesis 18 when three men came by. He really did entertain "angels unaware" that day (Hebrews 13:2). Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:35-40 that offering hospitality to the stranger is offering hospitality to Him. "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in." While few of us will stand by the interstate and invite the unknown traveler into our homes, we should consider inviting the lonely widow, the single mom, a new neighbor, or a couple at church with no family nearby.


Romans 12:20 asks something more difficult. "Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him: if he thirst, give him drink." We find it easier to avoid difficult people. Sometimes the problem may be looking at situations from a different perspective. By bringing this person closer to us, we may be able to understand each other's point of view and thus gain a friend.

The third group of potential guests is our fellow saints (I Peter 4:9; Galatians 6:10; III John 5). These are the ones we probably fellowship with most often anyway. However, we can learn to use hospitality as a means of offering encouragement during difficult times or helping the lonely feel part of the body of Christ.

As we enter the holiday season, consider ways you can open your heart and home to someone new. Ask God to direct you to that person outside your usual circle, someone who cannot reciprocate. You will find that the blessing is yours and your life will be enriched with new relationships (Luke 14:14).



How Do You Rate?


Give yourself a little quiz to see if you have the spirit of hospitality.

  • When was the last time you entertained in your home? 
  • Whom did you invite? 
  • How often do you have people in your home? 
  • Is it always the same close friends or family? 
  • Is it only those who can reciprocate your hospitality?



Mary Loudermilk works in Human Resources at UPCI World Headquarters and is also a part of the Ladies Ministries Connections’ team.  She enjoys writing and teaching on biblical topics.



Tea-lightful Inspirations ©2004-2017



Home Tea-Lightful Thoughts Tea-rrific Ideas Tea-licious Recipes Tea-Mail Special-Teas Tea-links