A Richly Blessed Family
"Pity the Smith family. Poor things, they have to keep the preacher every time the church plans a meeting. And Christians are always stopping in at their place. And they are about the only people in the church that ever invite people in after services. I just wouldn't put up with it myself. ..."
Spare your pity! The Smiths are a richly blessed family. Oh, occasionally they entertain some ungrateful scoundrel, but the blessings of hospitality far outweigh the problems.
The Bible speaks of some wonderfully blessed people along these lines. For instance, we do not pity Mary and Martha for "having" to have Jesus in their home; we pity those who, not wanting Jesus, were deprived of this blessing. We do not pity Mary the mother of John Mark, in whose home "many were gathered together praying;" we pity those homes where Christians never assemble for Bible study and prayer. We do not pity Philemon who was to prepare Paul a lodging; we would love to have Paul as a guest in our home. Christians need to learn the joy and blessings which come to those who are hospitable.
"We are hospitable," someone says; "we often have friends from church in our home for get-togethers and parties." That's fine! We encourage this! But Bible hospitality goes beyond having friends in for an evening which is at least partially for our own selfish enjoyment. "I was a stranger, and ye took me in," Jesus will say in the judgment (Matt. 25:35). Gaius was commended for helping "brethren" and "strangers" who were traveling for the Lord's name's sake, and was told by John, "whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well" (3 John 5-7). Further, the Bible teaches that we become partakers in evil deeds of false teachers when we receive them into our houses (2 John 9-11). But does this not infer that we become partakers in the good deeds of faithful teachers when we show them hospitality?
A Christian will want to make friends with other Christians, and consequently will plan enjoyable evenings with close friends in his home. But the hospitable Christian will also use his home for conducting Bible classes, entertaining visiting preachers and other workers for the Lord, getting acquainted with newcomers in the church, comforting the bereaved and troubled, and for every good work.
Our homes are blessings from the Lord. We must not use them selfishly, but rather to His glory. The result will be an occasional scratch on a chair, or a stain on the carpet, or a chipped glass — really a small price to pay, though, for the warmth that comes to the home from new friends, good influences, rich Bible discussions, participation in the Lord's work, and the satisfaction of knowing that one is pleasing God and preparing himself for eternity. No, it's not the Smiths whom we pity; it's those who do not know the joy of hospitality.