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Hospitality: Limiting Guests at Holidays Limits God’s Kingdom

Matthew 9:10-13 tells us that Jesus gives the perfect example of hospitality as He welcomes many tax collectors and sinners to dine with Him and His disciples. “Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples (NASB).” This passage illustrates Jesus’ inclusive approach to dining, showcasing the transformative power of hospitality in fostering connection and acceptance.

Jesus did not always dine with family and friends and didn’t block opportunities to eat with sinners, nor should we.

Jesus sometimes dined in the homes of brothers and sisters in Christ, showcasing the importance of hospitality. Six days before Passover, Jesus ate with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in a house that was not His. But in Luke 14:12-14, Jesus instructs:

When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors; otherwise, they may also invite you in return, which will be your repayment (NIV).”

His instructions expressly point to inviting strangers to dine with us.

Although following these instructions is not the norm during the holidays, practicing hospitality may take us out of our comfort zones. The rewards we reap from practicing hospitality will be earthly, and, more importantly, Kingdom rewards may be found. Since the Believer’s mission is to share Jesus, embracing hospitality through a casual dining experience lends itself to getting to know a stranger, establishing trust, and allowing an opportunity to share Jesus. Sometimes the conversation is opened to the chance during the first dinner. Often it takes several meals where you may feel led to share Jesus. With consistent prayer and effort, God will open the door, and you will be able to discern the time to do so.

hospitality - Table for One Ministries - Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Single Focused Conference - 2024
_Table for One Ministries – Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles – Single Focused Conference – 2024

Jesus even took the time to dine with those others considered His enemy. In Luke 7:36, we are told, “Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table (NASB).” Jesus didn’t hesitate. He didn’t consider the thoughts of others.

Jesus took action, knowing full well how others would perceive His actions. He led by example.

Even if the first meal with an acquaintance doesn’t seem like the opportunity to share your testimony, your actions and words, including prayer before the meal, can serve as an example and open conversation. Your new friend may ask, “Why do you pray?” or “Do you pray before every meal?” The most straightforward action may open the door for a stranger to become a brother and sister in Christ.

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