Last week I visited a new restaurant in town and had a great experience. Not only was the food good, but everything else was great as well. The building was well designed, the process of ordering and receiving my food was efficient, and the cost wasn’t too bad. However, the most important part of a restaurant visit (at least to me), besides the food, is how people are treated there.
At this place I was greeted with genuine warmth and friendliness. The person taking my order was very nice and helpful. The servers were very hospitable and appropriately checking on our table. The atmosphere of the whole place said, “we are glad you’re here, we’ve prepared for you and want to serve you in a meaningful way”.
Hospitality is something that we all like to experience. We like to be invited in and served with kindness. It sends an unspoken message of caring more about you in the moment than anything else. Not only is this way of relating to others good for business, it is a basic value for followers of Christ.
Paul, in his mini-sermon on love, offers this short, two word command to the followers of Christ in Rome – “Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13). In other words, when dealing with all people, but especially those outside of the church, make it a practice to offer them hospitality.
For some people this is a gift. I have been to many homes and experienced this most natural and authentic kindness first hand. It is a beautiful gift to exercise at any time and to any person, but it is especially powerful when shared with those who are searching for God. I believe it’s so important on Sunday mornings at our church for all of us to practice hospitality.
To be genuinely kind to one another and to those who are visiting for the first time. We have guests every week who are just beginning their experience with God and the church. They will know our love as a church and the love of their Heavenly Father when they experience acts of kindness from us.
So I want to challenge you (and me) to make hospitality a value in our lives; then to practice that value with someone else by serving them in a real, intentional and authentic way. You never know when someone’s first view of God is through you.