Last week I wrote about the Logistics of Hospitality. The article focused on inviting someone to share a meal, which is certainly hospitality. But the definition of hospitality can (and should) be expanded beyond just sharing meals, as a tool of discipling others.
I defined hospitality as loving other people with what you have. With discipleship in view, it means to have an open door, to share your time with others. If the thought of cooking for other people conjures up panic attacks, this should calm your fears! Hospitality can happen at 10 am pulling weeds together. Or going to the store together. Or doing laundry together. The important thing is “together”. You may have a preference (I prefer a meal over yard work), but we spend a lot of time doing a lot of things, so we may as well do them with others.
You have probably heard that more mature Christians should disciple less mature ones. That is true and biblical (check Titus 2), and some intentionality is required, but I wonder if the idea seems so daunting to us because we are not used to living life together. If we did, I bet the discipleship part would come naturally as we share each other’s struggles, fears, and successes. It sounds weird more because of our culture than anything wrong with this kind of hospitality. Talking about weird, I would go so far as to say that we should invite ourselves over to our brothers and sisters in Christ way more! This goes especially for singles and small families (it may be unkind for your 8 person family to invite itself over to a college student’s apartment), so if you see a skill or character quality that you admire in someone, reach out to learn it from them.
How can we get better at discipleship? Get better at hospitality, and vice versa. It will require humility and generosity. In humility, seek out others to learn from them, and in generosity, share your time, talents, and things. All it takes is a willingness to open yourself up and make yourself available. Welcome anyone at any time, whether it is for a meal, pulling weeds, doing laundry, or just sitting around the house together. Any of these settings can be used to share the gospel with unbelievers, apply the Scriptures to life circumstances, or pray together. Let us be known in our churches, work places, and neighborhoods as open, inviting, and hospitable people.
We have found Rosaria Butterfield’s book “The Gospel Comes with a House Key” helpful and challenging on this topic.
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