Hospitality Without Labels

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Philippians 3:20

Recently, I was asked what I like the most about my favorite travel destinations. Without hesitation I replied, “I enjoy visiting these big cities the most because I don’t feel like a tourist.” In my favorite travel destinations, I am comfortable with the public transportation, I can blend in while walking through local neighborhoods, and I have new experiences without the label or expectations of being “a tourist.”

Similarly, as I reflect on hospitality, my favorite memories aren’t my favorites because of a need to live up to labels such as “host” or a “guest.” My favorite experiences of hospitality are marked by the God-moments of heartfelt connections, serving each other by listening, really getting to know each other, and meeting needs without expectations. Hospitality, without the labels of being the perfect host or the most gracious guest, is about making the most of the time and not about a transaction.

God has used these verses to remind me this world Is not my home. His Word helps me change my perspective on the labels and expectations I put on myself:

I’m in this world but not of it … Romans 12:2

I have heavenly citizenship … Philippians 3:20-21

I should be like an alien and stranger … 1 Peter 2:11

When I embrace these truths about my identity, it gives me freedom to focus on the meaningful value of time and relationships over the quality of the activities or the importance of the schedule. I want to serve and give without expectations, and I desire to provide the kind of hospitality that is not remembered for the agenda, but for deep moments of expression and connection.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Did God bring to mind any memories as a host when you experienced the value of meaningful time over the stated goals and activities? Can you think of an experience when you arrived as a guest only expecting to receive, but you actively participated helping the hosts and connecting with others? Are there labels or expectations that you put on yourself that distract you from being fully present with others?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the opportunities we have to share your heart with others, as hosts and guests. Help us see these opportunities through your eyes. Make us sensitive to the best use of our time and resources. Show us the areas where we allow outside expectations to distract us from being present and focused on your purpose for our times together. Our heart’s desire is to give you glory in all we do. Amen.


Outrageous Hospitality

Romans 12:13 encourages us to practice hospitality. In the Message version, that verse reads: "be inventive in hospitality." Translated, the word hospitality means showing love to strangers. It's more than opening up our homes to the people we know well. Outrageous hospitality extends even to people who aren't at all like us, and who wouldn't usually show up on our radar screens.

Read and share the stories and articles in this series, Outrageous Hospitality. We hope they'll help you develop a working definition of what it means to practice hospitality in your community, your family, your workplace, and your church. In what ways might you be inventive when it comes to hospitality—reaching beyond your usual sphere of influence?

Featured image by Jose-Maria Moreno Garcia. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.