Posted by: Kerry Spencer | September 19, 2008

How to Entertain Angels . . .

What do you think of when you hear the word “hospitality?”  For most of my life I’ve thought of sweet, older ladies who are really good cooks and have nice homes.  I’ve been the grateful recipient of this type of hospitality throughout my life.  I also think of so many precious missionary wives who I encountered during my days in West Africa.  The gift of hospitality seems to be a requirement for wives on the mission field.  But me?  No, I’m not hospitable.  Any why should I be expected to be?  I’m just a single guy with limited cooking and homemaking skills.  I guess God has not gifted me in that area.  Or has He? 


Sunday at Sojourn (the church I’ll be attending while in Louisville), I heard a great message on Christian hospitality . . . for probably the first time in my life.  I wonder why I’ve never heard such a sermon before.  After all, hospitality is a command of God.  Not just a suggestion for some Christians but a command for all.  “Be hospitable to one another without complaint” (1 Peter 4:9).  “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love . . . practicing hospitality” (Romans 12:10-13).  Hospitality is also a requirement for overseers/pastors (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).  The Bible even goes so far as to say that sometimes when we think we’re simply showing hospitality to strangers, we’re actually “entertaining angels” (Hebrews 13:2). 


But true hospitality is not simply about entertaining others.  At the heart of hospitality are ideas like looking out for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4), inviting the poor/crippled/blind to our dinners (Luke 14:12-14), and accepting others as Jesus did us (Romans 15:7).  Essentially, the heart of hospitality seems to be love for our neighbors.


So it seems hospitality is not just for sweet, older ladies who are really good cooks and have nice homes.  Hospitality is also for me, a not so sweet young man who doesn’t cook much and lives in a homeless shelter (a very hospitable type of place by the way).  And if you are a Christian, hospitality is also for you.


  1. A great observation I heard years ago was essentially this:

    If the only time you’re willing to show hospitality is when you’re home is neat and clean and prepared, perhaps that’s not hospitality.

    Hospitality is when your doors are open regularly. Your life is available. The cleanliness of your home plays a much smaller role. It’s your investment, generosity and delicate care that mark hospitality. Don’t mistake being a great party host for showing good hospitality. They’re not the same thing.

  2. P.S. I loved this blog. Great thoughts!

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