Understanding Christian Hospitality
1 Peter 4:9 says, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” Easier said than done, right? Personally, I love opening my home to others, when it’s on my terms, when it’s last minute I definitely get stressed because I want things to be perfect. But in relation to Christian Hospitality, the Bible says nothing about having a perfect home, it just says to “be ready to help [God’s people]. Always be eager to practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13 NLT).
Since there are so many misconceptions about Christian Hospitality and it makes most of us feel a bit stressed, let’s look at what Christian Hospitality actually looks like, through actionable steps and examples.
Christian Hospitality means to minister in the name of Jesus by opening up your home and/or life to others and using your gifts to encourage their hearts, refresh their souls, and nourish their bodies.
In your life you may practice Christian Hospitality in a few different ways. A few examples are:
Inviting a new family at church over for dinner and a playdate
Taking a meal to a new mom (don’t forget the chocolate cake!)
Sending a thank you note to someone who helped you recently
Praying for a stranger
Talking to a mom you don’t know at the playground and making her feel welcomed to the neighborhood
Christian Hospitality takes many forms but it is always an act of showing love towards someone, like Jesus would.
One of my favorite people to look at in the Bible, in terms of hospitality, is Lydia, the seller of purple cloth. I enjoy her story so much that she is one of the people we study in my online Bible study, Women of the Bible. You can learn more about this study on thirty women of the Bible, by clicking here.
If Lydia lived during our lifetime I sort of picture her as this cool, slightly hipster, fashion entrepreneur with a real mind for business but a big compassionate heart as well. Really, I see her being like the character Miss Lane in the BBC show Lark Rise to Candleford. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it takes place in 19th century Oxfordshire and Miss Lane is the postmistress, an independent woman with an industrious mind and heart for her community who was really ahead of her time. I feel like Lydia and Miss Lane would be kindred spirits (of course Lydia was a real person while Miss Lane is fictional).
We meet Lydia in Acts 16 when Paul and Silas are in Philippi, speaking to a group of women at the city gate. Let’s catch up with them in Acts 16:13:
13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Later in the chapter (verse 40) we see that Lydia also hosted church in her home.
Lydia was a busy lady, running her own business and a household and she influenced not only her staff but her community. Despite her busy schedule she made time to open her home to Paul and Silas and other Christians because she knew it was her job as a believer of Christ. Do you allow your busy schedule to take precedence over being hospitable?
To dive even deeper into Lydia and her willingness to open her home, check out my thirty day, online Bible study, Women of the Bible. I promise you will love it!
Now that you’ve seen an example of Christian Hospitality, I have some fun free downloads to help you practice hospitality.
First is a hospitality challenge checklist. On the checklist are five challenges to help you practice Christian Hospitality and get you into a more hospitable mood and to help you practice being hospitable at a moment's notice. This may take you out of your comfort zone but I know you will grow from it. The second item is actually two items but they are on one page to make it easier for you to access. I’ve put together two checklists; one list is to help you always be prepared for guests and the second will help you do a click cleaning when guests are coming over.
You can access these freebies in the resource library under the “general homemaking” section. If you haven’t yet signed up to access the resource library, you can sign up here to join my email list and access the free library so you can grab your checklists and hospitality challenge.
After you’ve downloaded your checklists, share a photo on Instagram about how the challenge has encouraged you to be hospitable and how the checklists have helped you stay ready for guests! Use the hashtag #iamajoyfulhomemaker and tag me (@abbybarstow) so I don’t miss it!
Comment below to let me know when you have downloaded your checklists and started the challenge.