Welcome Others: Lead with Love

Aug 2, 2022Blog, Culture

The dictionary defines hospitality as, “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, and generous way.” In Romans chapter 12, the Bible commands us to show hospitality in all things we do, “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs, pursue hospitality” (Romans 12:12-13). I’m not going to lie, hospitality is not always easy, especially when you are trying to demonstrate it to people you might not get along with. I get it, but we are not called to only show love, generosity and hospitality to our closest friends. As believers, we are called to show these things to everyone we encounter.

I am in high school and I think this is such an interesting time and place to try and observe and show hospitality. It is important to the Lord that we include hospitality and generosity in all aspects of our life, which includes school. This may look like seeing someone eating alone during lunch and inviting them to sit with you. Or, it could be helping a classmate that is struggling with a certain assignment. It might even be helping a teacher pass out papers when there seems to be a lot to do. There are so many simple ways we can show hospitality in our schools, it doesn’t have to be some big and extravagant gesture. Everything counts. 

Another verse in the Bible that teaches about hospitality is 1 Peter 4:9 which says, “Be hospitable to one another without complaining.” I think this verse can sometimes be a rude awakening. If we let it sink in, I bet we complain and do things with an ungrateful heart more than we think and then that makes what we do become disingenuous. But, I believe carrying this, genuine posture of hospitality without complaining into our everyday lives, shifts the atmosphere. For many people, hospitality is going out of your way to do something for someone else, and when we do those things without grumbling or complaining, it can show the true hospitality that we are called to. Oftentimes, it means more to that person when we generously and lovingly do something for them. 

As I’ve grown up, my mom has shown me nothing short of what exceptional hospitality is. Not only that, she has done it with the most generous and caring heart. My family loves to have people over for dinner and we love to play games with our closest friends as well. The more we do this, the more our hearts overflow with joy and the more people we want to take into our home. We have had multiple circumstances where we have had families with young kids stay at our house for weeks at a time because they didn’t have a place to live. These times have taught me that hospitality is not only for when times are happy and fun, but also for when guests are hurting and in need. In my eyes, hospitality is truly the gift that blesses the giver. 

We have all likely heard one of the greatest commandments in the Bible and that is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That verse actually continues to say, “Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:9-10). It seems so simple. All we have to do is love our neighbor, but in order to do this we have to put aside our own wants, judge-y pants and self-righteousness, so that we can lead with the love of the Lord. When we let love lead, the work and love of Jesus Christ is so evident in everything we do. 

Hospitality, though, is not just about inviting people over to our house, but it’s also about humbling ourselves so that we don’t hold ourselves higher or lower than any other person. It is about seeing people that don’t feel seen and asking how they are. It is about being a listening ear to a struggling friend. It is inviting over the new family that just moved in town, or bringing a meal to a family in need. Hospitality can look a lot of different ways, and thankfully we have been beautifully and wonderfully created and equipped with gifts that help us know how we can best show hospitality to the people around us. 

True hospitality is a sacrificial service that is shown to everyone we encounter. This puts the eyes on the work of Jesus, instead of us taking the credit for what He is teaching us. What I mean by this is that we are doing acts of service, which can look different for everyone, that glorify our Savior instead of glorifying or satisfying our own souls and flesh. We do these things out of want to expand the kingdom, not to make ourselves feel better or recieve any glory, but to display the worth of Christ.

*Maddie is a guest student writer. She is involved with Cross Point Students.