What was the best you were ever treated? Maybe you get special treatment by your family once a year when it is your birthday, or perhaps you stayed at a nice resort where it is everyone’s job to make sure you are well fed and happy. Have you ever been treated well by a stranger, who wasn’t paid to do so? Maybe someone paid for your meal, let you go ahead of them in line, or just had a kind word for you, and what was your response? Experiences that are even more appreciated may be when someone welcomes you or treats you well, and you did nothing to deserve it. What is our response when we are treated well…is it gratitude, to think we deserved it, or do we try to repay the kindness, or pay it forward to others?
Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31
How often do you open up your home to friends and relatives, or even strangers? Just yesterday, I was talking to an Amish man who had hosted a wedding earlier in the week. He put up a temporary shelter and had hundreds of people, from several states visiting, and many staying on his farm. I don’t know about you or your family, but when I have someone visiting, or even staying, I feel obligated to get the place more cleaned up and in order, which takes a bit of work. Why is it that we don’t host more people in our homes? I am challenged by that as well.
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Isaiah 58:7
One of the most interesting concepts I have come across this past decade is a website called couchsurfing. It is basically a site to connect people who may be traveling through an area with someone willing to host them, or in the least provide a bed or sofa, without charge. My first experience 6 years ago, was when I was staying with friends in San Diego and was looking to visit the central coast, where my dad once lived. A host accepted my request and I traveled 5 hours to stay at a place I had never been with someone I had never met. The next day, after providing me a couch to crash on, they fed me, and took me around to visit several local places, and basically treated me like family, without asking for a dime. They were not Christians, but I kept thinking, isn’t this how we as Christians should treat everyone else? I’ve probably hosted around 15-20 different people at my own house since then, even though rural Southern Iowa is not a hotbed of tourism. It often provides me an opportunity to share my faith with most who have stayed with me as well.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:8-10
Who was the most welcoming toward Jesus? Those with a questionable reputation… those who were extremely grateful toward him… those who really couldn’t afford to treat Him well? Those with the means or space to do so often are the least welcoming toward strangers, or even family. Do you feel Jesus has been hospitable toward you in welcoming you into His Kingdom? When we are treated well, or better than we deserve, shouldn’t that be our same attitude toward others? Or do we become self-serving and entitled into believing everyone needs to treat us well. They are polar opposites, but I’ve seen both results in others, and myself. The more gratitude we have in our own hearts for the things that we have in life, often the more willing we are to share those things with others as well, even if they are undeserved. May you come to experience this more and more in your life as you show hospitality toward others!
Yours in Christ,