What is the meaning of the word hospitality? "Reception and entertainment of strangers or guests, without
reward, or with kind and generous liberality." Webster.
What, then, are the characteristics of true hospitality?
Kindness, generosity, and love, or charity.
As genuine hospitality must flow from love for our fellow beings, what is fulfilled
by its exercise? "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is
fulfilling of the law." Rom. 13:10. See also Gal. 5:13, 14.
What law is here referred to? "For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill,
Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not
covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended
in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Rom. 13:9.
Is hospitality enjoined as a duty? "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers." Heb. 13:2.
"Use hospitality one to another." 1 Peter 4:9. "The
stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you,
and thou shalt love him as thyself." Lev. 19:34.
Why ought we thus to exercise charity , or hospitality, to strangers?
"For the Lord your God is God of gods, ...and loveth the stranger, in
giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger." Deut. 10:17-19.
Prove that it enters into the foundation of Christian character. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction." James 1:27.
Who are under the obligation to exercise hospitality? "I beseech you therefore, brethren, ...be kindly
affectioned one to another with brotherly love, ...distributing to the
necessity of saints; given to hospitality." Rom. 12:1, 10, 13.
"Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore
years old, having been the wife of one man, well reported of for good
works; ...if she have lodged strangers, ...if she have relieved the
afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work." 1 Tim.
5:9, 10. "Fear God and keep His commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man." Eccl. 12:13.
But are not those who are called to be ministers of the gospel exempt from this
obligation? "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife,
vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality." 1 Tim. 3:2.
"A bishop must be... a lover of hospitality." Titus 1:7, 8.
Upon whom should hospitality be bestowed? "Use hospitality one to another." 1 Peter 4:9.
"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially
unto them who are of the household of faith." Gal. 6:10.
Should hospitality be exercised to those who are our enemies? "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink." Rom. 12:20.
What is said of those who make a distinction between rich and poor? "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your
assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also
a poor man in vile raiment, and ye have respect to him that weareth the
gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to
the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool; are ye not
then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?" "If
ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin." James 2:1-4, 9.
In what spirit should hospitality be exercised? "Use hospitality one to another without grudging." 1
Peter 4:9. "Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou
doest to the brethren, and to strangers." 3 John 1:5. "And
though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor... and have not charity, it
profiteth me nothing." 1 Cor. 13:3.
Whom do we honor when we exercise hospitality? "And the King shall answer and say unto them, ...In as
much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye
have done it unto Me." Matt. 25:40.
What was the Saviour speaking about on this occasion? "For I was a hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye
gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye
clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came
unto me." Matt. 25:35, 36.
What effect has hospitality on those who exercise it? "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35.
"The liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth ...shall be
watered also himself." Prov. 11:25. "He that hath a bountiful
eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor." Prov. 22:9.
What is the effect of hospitality shown to an enemy? "In so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." Rom. 12:20.
Is there any reward promised to those who show hospitality? "He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive
a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a
righteous man, shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall
give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in
the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose
his reward." Matt. 10:41, 42.
Will a person lose anything in this life by being hospitable? "He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack." Prov.
28:27. "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and
that which he hath given will he pay him again." Prov. 19:17.
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down,
and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom." Luke 6:38.
What will be the final reward for hospitality? "Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared
for you from the foundation of the world: for I was a hungered, and ye
gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and
ye took Me in." Matt. 25:34, 35.
What Bible characters were especially noted for hospitality? "And he [Abraham] lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men
stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent
door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I
have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy
servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your
servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened
into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of
fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto
the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young
man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf
which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under
the tree, and they did eat." Genesis 18:2-8.