Christian Hospitality at Trinity
The Christian life is one of both individual and corporate expression. When our Savior Jesus, in Matthew 5:14-16, admonishes us to "let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven,” the application is both individual and corporate. As a faith family, shining the light of Christian hospitality seems to be a gift with which the Holy Spirit has graced Trinity liberally.
Many of us have had friends or family visit Trinity. Two out-of-town guests attended Trinity recently. Without prompting, the visitors, on more than one occasion, remarked about how friendly Trinity is. Beloved ones, this observation is no small thing. Research indicates that friendliness is among the top reasons first-time visitors return.
Christian hospitality is one of God’s many means of grace, as well as both a command and a delight given by the Savior of the church to his bride. The New Testament is replete with admonitions for Christians to be the most hospitable people on the planet—and with good reason. In Romans 12:13 the apostle Paul encourages Christians to “contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality”; and in Galatians 6:10, Paul further encourages, "So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." In Hebrews 13:2, the author warns Christians, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” The apostle Peter echoes the sentiment in 1 Peter 4:9 where he encourages Christians to “show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” Evidently, the people of Trinity have been given a joy of life that they want to share with all those who visit us; grumbling about hospitality doesn’t even seem to appear on our radar—praise the Lord. The Lord of our church is surely pleased with this attitude of letting our light shine so that visitors may see this good work of joy and give glory to our Father who is in heaven.
Christians—of all people—have every reason to be hospitable. All that we possess has be given to us by our Creator; we are stewards, not owners (Psalm 24:1; 50:12; Deut 8:18; 1 Cor 4:7; Luke 17:10). We alone among humanity have the words of eternal life given to us by Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, God incarnate (John 6:68). Because we have been adopted into God’s family, we also have been made joint-heirs of the grace of life with God's own Son Jesus Christ (Rom 8:16-17; 1 Peter 3:7; 1 John 5:12)! How can recipients of such literally infinite grace and forgiveness not be hospitable?!
The present gift of hospitality that Christians at Trinity practice is a good gift. It is also a gift that we can cultivate and grow. In fact, on the authority of God’s Word, we have every encouragement to do just that. Very much like the church in Thessalonica, "you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers" (1 Thess 4:9-10a). The inspired apostle does not leave his observation there, however. He "urges" this family of already hospitable saints "to do this more and more” (1 Thess 4:10b).
Let's pray together that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may grant us to continue in this generosity of his.