My husband and I are called to pastor a local church, however, that does not mean we only serve within the four walls of our church. I do my best to encourage those in our church to do the same. We do not have to start a program when there are so many good ones going on in our community. I watch mannerisms and know that the heart of a true servant would not have to be put on a schedule to serve. A servant will invite a stranger to sit with them.
What is true hospitality? Is it just being nice? To me that definition is just as vague as saying “I just love everybody.” True hospitality, to me, is inviting strangers to be family.
We were riding with our spiritual daughter this weekend and she pointed out that it really ministered to her how welcoming we are to people that are different than us. A good portion of her friends are lesbians. We do not agree with or support the lifestyle, but that does not mean we do not love them as God’s created. Her friends know that, but they feel welcome in our home. Let me ask you a question…who is your neighbor? What does loving your neighbor look like? If you are not able to minister to and support those that are like minded, how can you minister to the ones that do not look like you?
Matthew 22:1-10 (AMP) Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent his servants to call those who had [previously] been invited to the wedding feast, but they refused to come. Then he sent out some other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Look, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened calves are butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention [they disregarded the invitation, treating it with contempt] and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest [of the invited guests] seized his servants and mistreated them [insulting and humiliating them] and killed them. The king was enraged [when he heard this], and sent his soldiers and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding [feast] is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. So go to the main highways that lead out of the city, and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ Those servants went out into the streets and gathered together all the people they could find, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests [sitting at the banquet table].
Verses 14-15 (AMP) Then the Pharisees went and conspired together plotting how to trap Him by [distorting] what He said. They sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are sincere and that You teach the way of God truthfully, without concerning Yourself about [what] anyone [thinks or says of Your teachings]; for You are impartial and do not seek anyone’s favor [and You treat all people alike, regardless of status].
Jesus was sincere in His hospitality. Without concern for Himself, nor care of what anyone thought, He treated all people alike, regardless of their status (label). Does that mean He agreed with everything? No. Look at verses 11-13 (AMP), “But when the king came in to see the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed [appropriately] in wedding clothes, and he said, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wearing the wedding clothes [that were provided for you]?’ And the man was speechless and without excuse. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him into the darkness outside; in that place there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger].’ For many are called (invited, summoned), but few are chosen.”
It is not me that demands the change, it is the King, it is Jesus. My job is to be the servant that invites them into the wedding feast. My job is to be hospitable, inviting strangers to be family. My prayer every day is “Lord, open the door today that I may minister to someone needs it.” I got to have an encouraging conversation with a grocery store clerk today. She knows she is loved in that conversation. She knows she is seen in that conversation.
Further on in that same chapter of Matthew we see verses 36-40 (AMP), “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus replied to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’ The whole Law and the [writings of the] Prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Show hospitality to a stranger today. It will brighten their and your day! In the end all that matters is that we hear “well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). The king’s servant went into the highways to invite guests to the wedding feast, both bad and good. We do not bring the change, He does. How can they ever change if they are never invited?
We’ve asked more than 50,000 people over the last 10 years why they came to church, and between 75 and 90 percent of respondents say, “I began attending because someone invited me.” (Source:The Inviting Church, 1987 p. 44)