The Hospitality of God
About this Study Kit
In a culture that prides itself in the virtues of utility, practicality, and ingenuity, there seems to be less and less time for cultivating true community, with face-to-face interaction. Through social media community has been given the appearance of immediate interaction with the souls of others. Yet, studies continue to show that these avenues fail to provide the intimacy and human community that we so desperately desire. In fact, they fill our world with more distraction and more meaninglessness than we could have ever imagined.
When our schedules are overflowing with activities, when time and money are in short supply, who has time to sit down to a home-made meal and the seeming impossible task of getting to know strangers, who on the surface have nothing in common with us? Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we could turn people off like a computer or like logging out of Facebook?
While it may be “easier” and more practical to avoid the messy lives of others, our lives are, in the process, deprived of what makes us human – true intimacy. Hospitality is a foreign practice to our late modern culture. To think that hospitality is actually fundamental to our humanity sounds strange and odd. And yet, it is something essential to the very Christian faith itself. Indeed, we can say that the entire drama of redemption is God the Father’s work of making room for humans in the life he shares eternally with the Son and the Spirit in blessedness and love – true, lasting intimate community.
The triune God’s goodness and lavish generosity did not end with creation. It reaches into a fallen world of sin, where fragmentation, strife, and war seem to make peace impossible. In Christ God does the humanly impossible and spreads a feast for aliens, strangers, and enemies, where he himself is the gift that he wishes to shed abroad in our hearts, even in our very bodies (Rom 5:5). As the Apostle Paul reminds us, “God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
This work of the triune God is the story in which we are now enfolded. It gives us a new identity. This story of what God has done, is doing, and will do through us allows us to be the hospitable people God desires. Our God has given us many temporal blessings in this life, not merely for self-gratification, but in order that we may serve those in need around us and spread abroad his goodness. Within the communities of church, family, and work, God creates a space through us where his goodness becomes the avenue for his truth to be seen and heard. As Paul remind us, it is the goodness of God that is meant to lead mankind to repentance (Rom. 2:4).
For these reasons, hospitality must be recovered as a Christian practice in an exhausted and stressed-out age, where fruitful relationships often take a back seat to accomplishments. “Let us not grow wary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:9-10). God has given us his grace in Christ by the Spirit who raised him from the dead so that our very words and actions – our hospitality – might impart grace to a needy, desperate world that desires what God alone can give (Eph. 4:29).
While hospitality can involve a lot of work, it is often relatively easy to do and is always rewarding. With a proper understanding of hospitality, Christians can more effectively nurture lasting, healthy relationships that are necessary for godly virtue, having our lives tuned to sing God’s grace together. If you have experienced such warm, loving hospitality, you know how little things can change a person’s life. God has called us to show ordinary love, using the small gifts he has given to us to speak eternity into the lives of others. What a joy and privilege! This six-lesson study is designed to help us look at this wonderful and fruitful topic.Get Study Kit Back to All Study Kits