Relational Hospitality

Have you ever thought about how many ways we are inviting people into our lives these days? We invite them to personally connect with us through Facebook, we invite them to view our pictures on Instagram, we invite them to share our thoughts, all 160 characters, on Twitter. We receive invitations to join people in a cause or movement, maybe at work or over the internet. Even our mobile phones are a means in which we invite one another through WhatsApp and Facetime. With all the digital devices we have today, people’s lives become an open invitation. Certainly our technological advances have bridged the gap of distance and time in communicating with one another. They provide opportunities to be closer in some ways, but how close are we because of them? Do we know about one another’s real needs, hurts, and troubles? Or could it be that these high-speed ways of communication and instant information make us think we are close, while actually keeping us at a distance and causing us to remain isolated from each other?

God designed us to be personally interactive creatures. Our greatest joy and fulfillment in life comes when our lives are like invitations to the people around us. We learn to bless them by what God has blessed us with, extending to them patience, mercy, and grace in practical ways. The Christians of the first century called this hospitality. The practice of hospitality means that you welcome people into your life by inviting them into your sphere of life. It means more than passing on information or posting things about yourself.  It is where you share your blessings with them. We often think of hospitality in respect to bringing people into our homes… and rightfully so. But a house is only a non-living structure. Though it may have architectural beauty, it is the people in it that make it personal and influential. That is why hospitality toward people can and should be extended beyond our homes.

The workplace is in need of people being hospitable to one another. You may say, “I have no time for that at work!”  Maybe you do and don’t realize it.  We have seen Christians show hospitality in their workplace in creative ways. Maybe it means you invite a coworker to join you at lunch during your meal break. This is bringing them into your sphere of blessing. (And by the way… you could offer to pay for their meal.) We know other Christians who invite coworkers into their prayer life. You may not invite them to pray necessarily, but get to know your coworkers and find out about their needs and how you can pray for them or help them in a practical way. You may want to follow up with the person for whom you are praying and inquire how God is answering your prayers for them.

We recently visited a group of Christians in AA/USAir in Charlotte, NC. The event we attended had to do with celebrating the merging of airlines, which can be painful and confusing to people. They had set up exhibits that represented the different airlines that merged and eventually became American Airlines. What impressed us was not so much the exhibits, but how these Christians were involved in the lives of their coworkers. They had made a concerted effort to find out how they could pray for them both personally and professionally.  We even overheard coworkers thanking the organizers for their personal concern and prayers. It didn’t take us long to realize how these Christians were showing hospitality to their coworkers in creative ways. (PMC)

“Seek to show hospitality… Above all, keep your love for one another fervent… Show hospitality to one another without complaining.”
Romans 12:13; I Peter 4:8, 9