Monday, October 25, 2010

Hospitality -- what does that mean?

Lou & I have been running the Hospitality House in Kaiserslautern for over a year now. In the past year, we have been asked "What is a Hospitality House"? We have described it as a "home away from home", a "safe place for folks to explore Christianity", a "place where folks can come and fellowship and study the Bible", etc. But, I have been meditating on the meaning of being hospitable.

As part of my devotions, I read Our Daily Bread, published by Radio Bible Class in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Not too long ago, there was a day devote to "Pursuing Hospitality". As I reflected on the Romans passage and the I Peter passage dealing with hospitality, I found myself wondering if I'm truly hospitable.

The author, David McCasland, was stated that "hospitality is a hallmark of Christian living...and is commanded for every follower of Jesus as an expression of love." But what does that truly mean? Is hospitality just opening up my home and welcoming people? Is it being friendly to those who enter my home?

Mr. McCasland showed me that the Greek word for hospitality means "love of strangers". God is calling us to pursue relationships with people in need. But, who is in need? In our ministry, Lou & I practice hospitality by spending time with military personnel and their families. Some of them are married with children, some are married with no kids, some are single. They all come for various backgrounds, different upbringings, women & men, Hispanics, African Americans and Caucasians -- all enter our home. Yet, how do they leave?

For us, our hearts desire is that people feel welcomed, loved, supported and treated as family. Our hope is that our home and ministry will allow them to connect with other people, experience the love of Jesus and their needs - whether physical, emotional or spiritual - are met. And leave being a friend and no longer a stranger.

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