by: Norman Rockwell
This past weekend I concluded a nine-month work with the Woodland Park church of Christ in Woodland Park, CO. As I stood before the majority of the congregation on Saturday night during a dinner Natalie and I had hosted for them, I struggled to find words to express my gratitude to this small in number but large in spirit congregation. One thing I made sure I told them was how their hospitality towards me had enabled me to labor among them like I had known them all my life. As I concluded a brief devotional, I challenged them to continue to not only display this hospitality towards fellow Christians but also with those in the community that they might open new doors to share the gospel with others.
I once asked a more experienced evangelist for one key piece of advice on getting started in doing personal evangelism. He said one word, "Hospitality." One of the main areas that we will focus on in our work in the northwest right from the start is the area of hospitality. A study of the word hospitality in the NT reveals the fact that it's common NT usage was that of a kind act towards a stranger (although it is not limited to this cf. 1 Pet.4: 9). I've grown to appreciate the advice given to me years earlier and have seen it's effectiveness in several ways:
- The old adage that says, "A person does not want to know how much you know until they know how much you care" is good proverbial wisdom indeed. Hospitality breaks down all sorts of barriers that otherwise might make communication with a person impossible.
- Hospitality creates a none threatening environment where thoughts and emotions can be expressed that, like it or not, aren't expressed in the foyer dash.
- Hospitality reflects one of the true essence of Christianity and that is an others above self principle such as that which our Lord displayed (Philippians 2).
For your own study on hospitality, consider these text: Rom.12:13; 1 Tim.3:2, 5:10; Tit.1:8; Heb.13:2; 1 Pet.4:9
Use some original language tools and study these Greek Words:
ξένος, ξενία, ξενίζω, ξενοδοχέω, φιλοξενία, φιλόξενο