I occasionally travel around the country in order to teach the Bible in various settings, typically staying in the home of a pastor or church members. Looking back over several years now of these experiences, I can confidently say that joyous hospitality is a boon to my ministry.
One of my favorite memories of hospitality happened last year. Jim Elliff and I were teaching in Texas, staying with Mr. and Mrs. Tinkle. The fellowship around the table was warm and engaging, but here’s what I’ll never forget: Mrs. Tinkle always had water bottles ready on the counter when Jim and I walked in after each day of ministry, plus warm towels awaited us at the bottom of the steps before we went upstairs to our rooms! We have no idea how she timed that so perfectly. We didn’t need those special touches—some food, shelter, and a shower is plenty—but they were extremely kind expressions of love and appreciation.
I recently counted at least eight different people who received the Apostle Paul into their homes:
– Lydia (Acts 16:14-15)
– The Philippian jailer (Acts 16:34)
– Jason (Acts 17:6-7)
– Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:1-3)
– Titius Justus (Acts 18:7)
– Gaius (Romans 16:3)
– Philip (Acts 21:8-9)
– Mnason (Acts 21:16)
Hospitality was vital to gospel advance in Paul’s life, and the same is true today for men who have a broader teaching ministry beyond their local church.
Not everyone has a home that is conducive to receiving guests, but perhaps you do. Have you offered to host that visiting missionary, or that conference speaker and his family? Why not let the leadership of your church know you would like to serve in that way if needed?
If you are already using your home for hospitality, keep it up! As John said, “Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth” (3 John 8). Do it with joy, not grumbling (1 Peter 4:9). And while you’re at it, you might throw in a few of your own “special touches.” They will be appreciated very much!