Imagine you are relocating to a new country with no friends or relatives there. Your neighbor welcomes you with open arms and helps you settle into your new home.
This act of hospitality – receiving and loving a stranger – is a pure act of love and kindness. But this isn’t a mere act of action; it involves love from deep within, from our hearts. And when you do it with joy and eagerness, you align with Christ’s teachings and bring honor to His name.
The Bible emphasizes that practicing hospitality is not about seeking personal rewards but rather about expressing love, compassion, and obedience to God. There are various examples in the Bible that show how being hospitable to strangers rewards you immensely.
In this blog, we’ll learn more about hospitality in Christianity and some fine examples mentioned in the Bible and the New Testament. We’ll also tell you about some simple ways to practice Biblical hospitality.
What is Christian hospitality or Biblical hospitality?
Christian hospitality, also referred to as Biblical hospitality, is a concept rooted in the teachings of the Bible and is considered an important practice for Christians. It involves welcoming, hosting, and caring for others, especially strangers, with warmth, generosity, and love.
Why is Christian hospitality important?
Does Christian hospitality simply mean offering physical shelter and sustenance? No, it encompasses an attitude of openness, kindness, and a willingness to serve others in the name of Christ. It is important to believers for many reasons.
Obedience to scripture
The Bible explicitly commands Christians to practice hospitality, making it a matter of obedience to God’s Word. We’ll throw more light on Biblical and New Testament examples of Christian hospitality later in this blog.
Witness and Evangelism
By practicing hospitality, Christians create opportunities to share their faith, demonstrate God’s love, and invite others into a relationship with Christ.
Unity and community
Hospitality helps build strong bonds within the Christian community, fostering a sense of unity, support, and shared purpose.
Cultivating Christ-like characters
Engaging in hospitality allows Christians to cultivate virtues such as love, humility, and compassion, which are central to the teachings of Jesus.
By offering hospitality, Christians have the privilege of blessing and positively impacting the lives of others, both materially and spiritually.
Christian hospitality is indeed a way for believers to live out their faith, follow the example of Christ, and contribute to the well-being of others while glorifying God.
5 Christian hospitality examples in the New Testament
The New Testament has several verses offering insights into how Christians can practice hospitality. Here are the five best examples.
Jesus and the Woman at the Well (John 4:4-26)
In this account, Jesus demonstrated hospitality by engaging in a conversation with a Samaritan woman at a well. Despite cultural barriers and prejudices, Jesus showed kindness, respect, and genuine interest in her life, ultimately revealing his identity as the Messiah.
The Last Supper (Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-23)
Jesus shared a final meal with his disciples, which is now known as the Last Supper or the Passover meal. This act of hospitality was a deeply significant moment where Jesus demonstrated his love and fellowship with his closest followers.
The Early Church (Acts 2:42-47, Acts 4:32-37)
The early Christian community in Jerusalem practiced a form of communal hospitality, sharing their possessions and resources with one another. They provided for the needs of those in their midst, ensuring that no one was in lack of any need.
Lydia’s Hospitality (Acts 16:11-15)
Lydia, a seller of purple fabrics, extended hospitality to Paul and his companions in Philippi. She invited them to stay in her house, and her openness to their message led to her conversion and baptism.
Dorcas (Acts 9:36-43)
Dorcas, also known as Tabitha, was known for her acts of kindness and charity. She made clothing for the needy and showed hospitality through her service to others. When she died, the believers mourned her and shared stories of her good deeds.
These examples in the New Testament serve as models for how Christians today can embody the principles of love, service, and welcoming that are central to the practice of hospitality. Similarly, the Bible also has many examples of Christian hospitality.
5 Biblical examples of Christian hospitality and how to practice it
Christian hospitality has a bigger purpose – to preach the gospel of Christ. The Bible provides numerous examples of hospitality and its practice. Let’s pick the best five examples for you.
Abraham and the Three Visitors (Genesis 18:1-15)
Abraham, often referred to as the father of faith, demonstrated exceptional hospitality when he welcomed three strangers into his tent. He provided them with food, water, and a place to rest.
This act of hospitality turned out to be a divine encounter, as two of the visitors were angels who delivered important messages and blessings to Abraham and his wife Sarah.
Rahab and the Spies (Joshua 2:1-21)
The story of Rahab and the spies is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), specifically in the Book of Joshua, chapter 2, verses 1-21. Rahab, a prostitute in the city of Jericho, showed hospitality and protected two Israelite spies who had come to scout the city. She hid them on her rooftop and helped them escape from the authorities.
In return for her kindness and faith, she and her family were spared when the Israelites conquered Jericho.
The Widow’s Oil (2 Kings 4:1-7)
Elisha, a prophet, encountered a widow who was facing financial distress and risked losing her sons to creditors. Elisha instructed her to gather empty jars, and miraculously, her small jar of oil was multiplied to fill all the jars she had collected.
Her act of hospitality by providing a vessel for God’s provision resulted in her needs being met.
Jesus and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)
Jesus demonstrated hospitality by reaching out to Zacchaeus, a tax collector and social outcast, and inviting himself to his home.
This act of acceptance and fellowship led to Zacchaeus’s transformation and commitment to restitution.
The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus taught about the importance of showing compassion and hospitality to those in need, even those from different backgrounds. The Samaritan cared for a wounded stranger, exemplifying the command to love one’s neighbor.
8 practical ways to show Christian hospitality
How do you show hospitality to strangers? As mentioned in the Biblical and New Testament examples, there are various ways to show hospitality to strangers. Let us share some easy and joyful ones based on these examples.
Open your home and heart to newcomers, visitors, or people in need. This could involve inviting them for a meal, providing a place to stay, or simply offering a listening ear.
Share your material blessings with others. This could include providing food, clothing, or financial assistance to those facing difficulties.
Look for opportunities to connect with people who may be marginalized or overlooked, such as the lonely, the elderly, or individuals from different cultural backgrounds.
Listening and empathizing are important aspects of hospitality. Engage in meaningful conversations that show genuine interest in others’ lives, experiences, and needs.
Offer prayers and emotional support for those going through challenging times, expressing genuine concern and care.
Practice small acts of kindness, such as giving a compliment, holding the door for someone, or helping with a task, to show hospitality in everyday situations.
Perform acts of service for others, such as volunteering at shelters, offering rides to those in need, or helping with household tasks.
- Create a welcoming environment
Make your home or church a place where people feel comfortable and accepted, fostering a sense of belonging.
Christian hospitality, deeply rooted in the teachings of the Bible, exemplifies the heart of Christ’s message and his call to love and serve others. By practicing hospitality, Christians not only extend a helping hand but also create opportunities for divine encounters, spiritual growth, and the strengthening of community bonds.
Breath of the Spirit International Ministries is dedicated to helping individuals connect with Christ through the practice of hospitality. It recognizes the evangelistic potential of hospitality. Its founder and charismatic leader, Dr. Michelle Corral, through her teachings, workshops, and initiatives, empowers believers to authentically connect with Christ by practicing hospitality.
Open your heart and home to others. This act of hospitality creates a space for Christ’s presence to manifest!