Moral Directions

Some folks make you feel at home. Others make you wish you were. Treat your guest as a guest for two days; on the third day, give him a hoe. - An African Swahili proverb (Source unknown). … More

Hospitality

In this chapter, as throughout this whole letter, it is evident that God is not interested in religion, but in life that produces the evidences of our faith. Real love for others produces tangible actions:

  1. Open to strangers (v. 2). A Christian home should be a center of hospitality, to which strangers have access. Obviously this calls for initiative on the part of Christians. Strangers do not come around knocking at our door asking for an invitation to a meal or a place to sleep. Where there is true Christian love, there will also be hospitality (v. 2). Pastors are to especially be given to hospitality (Titus 1:8) and all saints should be “given to hospitality” (Romans 12:13).
  2. Open to the oppressed (v.3) This means that the Christian must not shut his eyes or ears to the needy around him. We must not be like the Levite and the Pharisee in the parable of the Good Samaritan, who out of a false sense of religious concern shut their eyes to the need of the stranger and walked by on the other side. We cannot be rightly related to the God who loves all men everywhere and not show this in some definite, practical, helpful way. Perhaps we need to open our eyes wider to the needs in our own community.
  3. Open to understanding the dangers of life (vv. 4-5). Non conformity to the world must certainly involve these areas. We must give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to our partners in marriage. As the writer reminds us, God judges the immoral and adulterous (v. 4). Then there is the danger of materialism (vv. 5-6). This means that we must swim against the strong currents of an age that is driven to living in luxury. This does not mean that Christians should take a vow of poverty. Contentment is not having what you want; it is wanting only what you have.

Application

I have had the privilege over the years of staying in homes of many Christians. Some of my most enjoyable experiences in life have been during these times. It is also disappointing to see Christians who never have anyone in their home, have an unlisted phone number, and just don’t want to be bothered with people. Lord, help me to be a person of hospitality and concerned for the oppressed.

Hebrews 13:1-8 (English Standard Version)

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

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