What is Biblical hospitality?
How do you feel when someone invites you to their home? Maybe it’s a party or an intimate dinner with just a few people. Or maybe it’s just a one-on-one conversation where you really get to know someone and they get to know you.
Or maybe you’re the one inviting someone else.
Either way, there’s a wonderful feeling of including others and being included that makes us feel loved and appreciated.
This week I talk with Sue Donaldson, author and speaker, about hospitality in a deeper sense of not just inviting someone over for a chat or a meal, but ministering to someone in a way that helps them realize how much God loves them.
Sue shares some great examples of how she has taken lessons on hospitality from lots of different Bible characters, especially Jesus.
Hospitality in the Bible:
- Simon the Pharisee who invited Jesus for a meal but did not wash his feet, a special sign of hospitality
- Compare Simon with the woman who sneaked into his house during the meal and washed Jesus’s feet with her tears, then anointed his feet with expensive ointment
- Think of the men who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus but had to climb on the roof and remove roof tiles to lower their friend to where Jesus was inside for Jesus to heal him. Jesus received their gesture of faith with gracious hospitality.
- Matthew, the tax collector, invited Jesus to his home for a meal. The Pharisees disapproved associating with sinners and people like Matthew. But Jesus always accepted the hospitality of those who were receptive to his message. He looked at their hearts, not their outward appearance.
- The Good Samaritan is a wonderful example of how to express hospitality, even to those who are different from you
- And of course there’s the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was so busy worrying about the food, she missed an opportunity to sit at Jesus’s feet and partake of his spiritual hospitality.
- So many more in this week’s episode…
There are so many lessons to learn from these and other stories in the Bible about how to minister to others’ needs.
Sue shares some practical advice, from many years of experience, on how to reach out to, minster to, and include people in a hospitable and loving way, both in your home and elsewhere.
What if you can’t have people in your home? Sue shares ways to express hospitality in every situation.
Higher purpose of hospitality
And what’s the real reason to express hospitality? It all comes back to helping people know how much God loves them and that we are all welcome at His “table.”
Sue says, “The more we look like Jesus, the better others can find him when we open our doors and add another chair to the table.”
That doesn’t mean we put on sandals and wear a tunic. It means that the more our hearts are filled with the love Jesus had for all mankind, the more others will feel that love and experience Christ’s love for themselves.
After listening to this week’s episode, what are some ways you can express hospitality in some fresh ways that minister to the deeper spiritual needs of your guest? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
About Sue Donaldson:
Speaker, author, Sue Donaldson and her husband, Mark, live in San Luis Obispo, California. Sue taught high school English, part of the time in Brazil with Wycliffe Bible Translators. She and her husband have raised 3 daughters who keep them at the bank and on their knees. Sue loves connecting people to one another, to God, and to His Word, and has been speaking for the last 25 years or so with long pauses for babies, diapers and soccer pasta parties. Sue has some great free resources for you.
Blog: WelcomeHeart: Knowing and Showing the Heart of God
Podcast: Make it Count: Living a Legacy Life
Books by Sue Donaldson:
Come to My Table: God’s Hospitality and Yours*
Hospitality, 101: Lessons from the Ultimate Host, a 12-Week Bible Study*
Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide to Coming Alongside*
Say Something Special: 252 Conversation Starters, The Ultimate Guide to Stimulating Table Talk*
Thanks for listening. Please share this with a friend.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for the topic of a future episode, please contact me.
Have a great week.
Bible references in this episode:
Luke 7:36-39, 44-48 ESV
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.
37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment,
38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.
39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”
44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Mark 2:2-5, 10-12 ESV
2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.
3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.
5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—
11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”
12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Matthew 9:9-13 ESV
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.
11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
13 Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Luke 10:33-35 ESV
33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
Luke 10:38-42 AMP
38 Now while they were on their way, Jesus entered a village [called Bethany], and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.
39 She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was continually listening to His teaching.
40 But Martha was very busy and distracted with all of her serving responsibilities; and she approached Him and said, “Lord, is it of no concern to You that my sister has left me to do the serving alone? Tell her to help me and do her part.”
41 But the Lord replied to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things;
42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part [that which is to her advantage], which will not be taken away from her.”
Matthew 14:16-21 ESV
16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”
17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.”
18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.”
19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.
21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
John 21:10, 15-17 ESV
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
John 15:4 ESV
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
John 15:16 KJV
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
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