I have a wonderful friend who opens her house up to our small group almost every Thursday. We knock, letting ourselves in, making her dog bark, and piling our shoes in the entry way. On really, really cold nights, like last winter, she has her husband start a fire for us, so we would have a toasty warm room to have our Bible study in. My friend has the gift of hospitality and it shows every time we meet at her house. Another friend also has the gift of hospitality in church. While she ushers, she greets everyone and talks to as many people as she can. Most of the time she isn’t standing by her door giving out announcement pages, but standing out in the narthex, making sure everyone is greeted and welcomed to church. She can talk to complete strangers as though they are like family or long lost friends. What a wonderful gift of hospitality my friends have.
These are just two examples of hospitality that show how we as Christians should act toward others. Each one of us has the gift of hospitality, only some more than others. Everyone can welcome someone they don’t know during giving of the peace, or just saying “I’m glad your worshiping with us today.” One area our church needs to work on is hospitality and it is up to everyone to do it, not just a few out in the narthex or by a door. Each person in worship need to greet those around them, and if you don’t know them, introduce yourself and ask them who they are. It can go like this, “Hello, my name is ___ and you are?” It’s as simple as that. This way we can get to know each other my name, as God knows us each by name. When we show hospitality to others especially strangers we are showing the mark of a true Christian. As Romans 12:13 says, “Contribute to the needs of the saints, extend hospitality to strangers.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to show this kind of hospitality to all who arrive at church, not just as they come into our building but also extending out into our church parking lot before worship. Helping people get out of their cars, holding doors, directing traffic, and giving a hand to parents with small children, or an arm to lean on when it’s snowy and icy. What a generous love we can give to all on a Sunday morning, when we are able to help and give a warm welcome. I hope that as we talk about service and fellowship through out this year, each person can take time to be a greeter, not just in the narthex, but anywhere you are in church, in the parking lot, or in the education building. Showing hospitality is a mark of true Christianity, so may our church exhibit hospitality to all.