Currently our home has been undergoing a project for the last two months. I must say it looks slightly different from many homes I see on Instagram and Pinterest with the words "Welcome" or "Home" coined to it. Here are some examples from the hashtag "hospitalityfilledhomes" for example:
From Pinterest when I search "home", I find these beauties:
I love looking at these pictures. They truly are beautiful, and I would naturally feel welcomed in a home like this. I cannot get past how strikingly different my home looks in comparison, however.
The first few weeks of this project, I found myself avoiding our usual "invite people into our home for dinner night". I was embarrassed! After those weeks past, I found myself missing fellowship in our home and the ability to catch up with brothers and sisters from our church family outside of corporate worship. The more I thought that it would be over soon and then I would invite people over, the more the task seemed to drag on.
On the other hand, the Lord prompted me to study "hospitality" in scripture. This had nothing to do with what was going on in my home. I actually planned to study for another reason--or so I thought! God so graciously taught me so much in leading me to study this topic for what my heart needed.
What is Biblical hospitality?
The Bible defines hospitality in its original Greek language as:
love to strangers; distributing to the needs of the saints; generous to guests
This definition says nothing about the beauty or worth of material things in order to show hospitality. Instead, it says it is the giving of what we have for others' needs (food, shelter, etc.) and showing love-- no matter what our house looks like on the exterior or the table setting on the interior.
Jesus and Hospitality
His birth- love to strangers
"but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men." (Phil.2:7)
His life- distributing to needs, love, generosity
Feeding the 5,000 (Matt. 14:13-21) - Having only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, Jesus desired to feed the multitude, and he did--without a home to comfortably sit in or nice plates to eat off of
His death- The most generous thing God could do for us was to send his son Jesus to come to Earth as a sinless, perfect man, die on the cross for the payment of our sins, and rise from the dead to defeat sin and death ultimately giving us eternal life through faith and repentance!
"And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Phil. 2:8)
"just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matt. 20:28)
His resurrection- fulfilling our greatest need and the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 14-16)
The Bible teaches that the greatest need of every human being is to be found righteous in God’s sight, rather than wicked. When the judgment comes, we desperately need the verdict pronounced over us to be “righteous” rather than “condemned.” That is what the Bible calls being “justified”—it is God’s declaration that we are righteous in his sight, rather than guilty. And how do we secure this righteous verdict? The Bible tells us plainly that it won’t be by asking God to look at our own lives. No, that would be a fool’s move. If God is ever to count us righteous, he will have to do it on the basis of something other than our own sinful record. He’ll have to do it on the basis of someone else’s record, someone who is standing as a substitute for us. That’s where faith in Jesus comes in. When we put our faith in Jesus, we are relying on him to stand as our substitute before God, in both his perfect life and his penalty-paying death for us on the cross. In other words, we are trusting that God will substitute Jesus’ record for ours, and therefore declare us to be righteous (Rom. 3:22). (Greg Gilbert, What is the Gospel?)
Is it wrong to have a beautiful home with a lovely entrance way and door? Is it wrong to use lovely dishes when guests come over? Absolutely not.
My point is, let's not miss out on true, biblical hospitality because our homes do not measure up or even embarrass us compared to everyone else--or social media. After all, we can always find another picture somewhere that looks better, and it will be a constant catching up to what's considered in style.
Let's be reminded of Jesus. Why did he give us this example? How can we glorify him in our homes?