Monday, February 8, 2016

Being Hospitable

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2 NIV).

Be hospitable to one another without complaining (1 Peter 4:9 HCSB)

Brief Testimony: About two weeks ago, some of our ministry members learned of a man who had been hospitalized for almost two months. After learning about him being in the hospital, the ministry members made a plan to visit him in the hospital and lead him to the Lord. Although, he is still recovering, the ministry members also learned that his own family had kind of abandoned him and for this he said he felt like he was nothing. These ministry members under the conviction of the Holy Spirit took the initiative to visit him and to arrange a place for him to stay offering him all the support he needed.

Hospitality refers to warmly receiving or treating guests, visitors and strangers alike with friendliness, goodwill, and kindness. Being hospitable is about being a good and courteous neighbor (Luke 10:25-37), treating others as we would love to be treated (Luke 6:31), and being obedient to God’s Word (Proverbs 27:10; 1 Pet. 4:9-10). Previously, we also shared that being hospitable is a Social Responsibility and Good Manners.

In today’s world, we see increased wickedness, loss of trust among people, and the love of many growing cold (Matthew 24:12). A few, isolated incidents of the enemy using strangers to turn against their helpers or hosts are often magnified by the mass media. As a result, many people have lost faith (Luke 18:8), embraced fear, and ushered in increased selfishness and self-preservation. The truth is that wickedness has always been there since the fall of man, but the power of God’s love, goodness, protection, and Word endure forever and remain steadfast and unchanged (1 Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 119:89; Hebrews 13:8; 1 Corinthians 13:7). The Bible’s teaching on being hospitable therefore applies to us today as it did to past generations. For example, in the New Testament we are commanded to show hospitality to one another without grumbling, murmuring, grudging or complaining (1 Peter 4:9) and to share with fellow believers who are in need (Romans 12:13). Additionally, hospitality should be one of the qualifications of Church leaders (Titus 1:8; 1 Timothy 3:2).

Why is Hospitality Important?

Hospitality is very important because it is an expression of love to the Lord and fellow man.
  • We are giving to the Lord: When we feed the hungry, give the thirsty a drink, invite strangers into our homes, clothe the naked, take care of the sick, visit prisoners or meet other needs, it pleases the Lord and we receive eternal blessings from Him; when we don’t show hospitality to others, we are rejecting the Lord (Isaiah 58:7; Matthew 25:34-46).
  • We are serving the Lord, not man: When we serve joyfully, we will receive the reward from the Lord. When we do wrong to others, we will suffer the consequences too unless we repent (Mark 9:41; Luke 13:1; Colossians 3:23-24; Ephesians 6:7).
  • Empathy: We too have been “strangers” in “Egypt” and it is only by God’s grace and His love for us in sending His Son to die for our sins that we are saved. We should, therefore, love others as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34).
  • The Lord repays us abundantly and eternally: When we do good and help those who are in need and unable to pay us back, the Lord Himself promises to repay us at the resurrection of the righteous (Luke 14:12-14; Matthew 10:40-42).
  • We invite God’s blessings: For example, the natives of Malta who showed unusual kindness to Paul and his shipwrecked colleagues received the Good News and healing from the Lord (Acts 28:2); the Lord blessed the Shunammite woman for showing hospitality to Elisha (2 Kings 4:8-17); the widow of Zarephath was hospitable to Elijah and in return she never lacked bread or oil throughout the famine (1 Kings 17:7-16).
  • The Lord Himself is hospitable: God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ is very hospitable. He has prepared a great feast and beautiful mansions for His children (Matthew 22:2-10; Luke 15:11-32; John 14:2-3; Revelation 19:6-9).
Examples of Hospitality in the Bible

The Bible highlights several examples of hospitality, and the list below is by no means exhaustive.
  • Abraham invited three “men” into his house. He did  not want them to pass him by but joyfully welcomed them and got them water to drink and food. One of the “men” was actually the Lord Himself and He proclaimed that Abraham would have a son the next year (Genesis 18:1-10).
  • Lot showed hospitality to the angels who visited him at Sodom, and they ended up saving him and his immediate family (Genesis 19:1-21).
  • Simon the tanner provided lodging for Simon Peter at Joppa (Acts 10:6).
  • Boaz was hospitable to Ruth and Naomi and allowed Ruth to glean grain from His farm (Ruth 2:8; 14-16).
  • Elisha commanded the King of Israel to be hospitable to the Syrian enemy soldiers who had come to invade Israel. After they were shown kindness, they never came to raid the land of Israel again (2 Kings 6:15-23).
  • Rebekah was hospitable to Abraham’s servant, Eleazar, by drawing water for him from the well to drink and drawing for his camels too (Genesis 24:18-20).
  • Laban, Rebekah’s brother was hospitable to Eleazar by preparing a lodging for him and a place for the camels. Laban also unloaded and fed the camels, and gave water to Eleazar and his travel companions to wash their feet (Genesis 24:29-32). Years later, Laban was also hospitable to his nephew, Jacob (Genesis 29:13).
  • The widow of Zarephath, as mentioned in the previous section,was kind to Elijah (1 Kings 17:10-16).
  • Joseph was hospitable to his brothers (Genesis 43:24).
  • Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, was hospitable to the Lord Jesus (Luke 19:1-10).
  • Rahab was hospitable to the two spies sent by Joshua (Joshua 2:1-16), and consequently, she and her family were spared from destruction (Joshua 6:17).
  • David was hospitable to Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son (2 Samuel 9:7-13).
Be Hospitable Wherever You Are

Hospitality is not just confined to when we are at home, but the Lord presents us with many opportunities as we go about our daily lives. For example, Moses was sitting down by a well, when he noticed shepherds chasing away seven women (sisters) who had come to draw water for their father’s flock. Seizing the opportunity, Moses rescued them and watered their flock. Jethro, the father of the seven women, reciprocated by inviting Moses to his home, giving him a job and a wife (Exodus 2:16-21).

We also read of how two men were walking on the Road to Emmaus, and unbeknownst to them, encountered the Risen Savior, who taught them along the way, but they only recognized Him after they’d invited him to stay with them for the evening because it was late (Luke 24:13-32).

Furthermore, the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35) encourages us to do good to others whenever and wherever we see an opportunity, without giving any excuses.

Unfortunately, there are many people who would rather be guests than hosts, thereby being primarily recipients of hospitality instead of giving. Brethren, this ought not to be so! In truth we all have the capacity to be hospitable. As we see in the examples above, when we are hospitable to others, we are doing this for the Lord, who is faithful to reward us as He knows best. Remember, “it is more blessed to give than to receive!” (Acts 20:35).

Brief Testimonies and Visions

In April 2015, the Lord sent us (The Van Rooyens) to go pray and witness to a woman who is my wife's cousin. She had been released from the hospital after having undergone chemotherapy treatment. She explained to us her painful experience including some people's expectations that she would not make it out of the hospital. As she continued her discourse with tears in her eyes which also moved my wife to tears, she also shared about a BIG Bright light appearing on her bedside reassuring her that she would live. She knew that Light was the Lord and that she was not going to die there yet. However, after we prayed for her and led her to the Lord, we instructed her in the Word regarding how to lead a pleasing life to the Lord and left.

In September 2015, she was readmitted to hospital where her situation had badly deteriorated with my wife visiting her in hospital to strengthen her in the Lord. Brethren, this might not be pleasing to people who follow the Muslim religion. This precious sister grew up in the strict teachings of the Muslim religion, but she believed in the Lord. As you know parents under the Islamic conviction don't take no for an answer and they continued to minister to her. Being weak in faith and trying to please them she accommodated them while my wife insisted to her that the Lord Jesus is the Way to Heaven.

As it is, in November 2015, three days before she passed away we were notified that her situation had taken a turn for the worse. My wife and her sister went to visit her at her house. This was a perfect opportunity for my wife to minister to her again and after praying and leading her again to the Lord and to renounce sin and her inclination to Islam. Even though she didn’t believe but pretended to please her parents she recommitted to the Lord. After prayer she told my wife that she could see countless Arabic letters and symbols appearing repeatedly on the television screen. After encouraging her to rebuke this attack my wife and her sister left.

Heavenly News: At the end of November 2015 and about two weeks after her funeral, the Lord showed Charis in a vision how the woman looked while she was on earth suffering from cancer and anger at her suffering. He showed her how relaxed, beautifully transformed she looked being in a new body where she gave off a radiant smile as Charis was allowed to hug her. Because I didn't give much attention to this testimony, the Lord reminded me again on Saturday February 6, 2016 to share this testimony for your edification. The Lord gave Jaydeen a short vision in which an Angel of the Lord, related to her in a story about a woman who died and was guided by an Angel to the way to Heaven, and her sister whom we also witnessed to received a warning through this same Angel that if she does not repent she will miss Heaven.

Brethren, the Lord is teaching us in this testimony never to give up on people when they are sick. If my wife was not persistent in prayer and witnessing, Satan would have succeeded in stealing this precious soul. We are also taught to pray and reassure people who accepted the Lord that He was waiting for them on the other side. A Christian ought to be responsive when they hear that someone is sick for the Lord still saves people on their death bed. We therefore rejoice with the Heavenly host (Luke 15:7) and pray that that you reading here will continue in obedience and work to increase Heaven's population. In conclusion, by being hospitable we make it easy for people to identify the Lord's love for them and the needy will never forget their Source of support.

Finally and as a warning, Nabal was very stingy, full of excuses, and unwelcoming to David and his men who had showed him kindness (1 Samuel 25:5-11). The wages of his sin was death (1 Samuel 25:37-38; Romans 6:23). Have you been missing out or giving excuses to avoid being kind and hospitable to others? Do you see needs around you that you can easily meet? Is there someone who needs encouragement that you can pray for or help? We encourage you to practice being hospitable and seizing whatever opportunities that come your way to bless others. Let the Light of Christ in you shine as you pray, study your Bibles and share the Good News.

To accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please pray this Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments about this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessings to you in your hospitality,

Preparing for the Kingdom Ministry Team.

P.S. I would like to thank the Lord and acknowledge two of our ever willing and faithful ministry members, Brother Abes and Sister Janet, for being the primary authors and contributors to this week’s article. ~ Brother Glenn van Rooyen.