The Power of Biblical Hospitality

Four characteristics that distinguish biblical hospitality from merely entertaining guests.

We all like to be entertained. An entire global industry has emerged to satisfy our longing to be amused, to somehow lift us out of the drudgery and doldrums of our ordinary lives. We take it in with reckless abandon, fully expecting to be transported to someplace better, someplace different. And just like any other idol, the gods of entertainment leave us feeling more unsatisfied, desperate, and empty than ever.

So, we’re not very good at being entertained. But how are we as the entertainer?

Entertaining guests is a cultural concept with various regional expressions, few of which translate into biblical hospitality. More recently across North America, “hospitality” is often reduced to a split check at a mutually suitable restaurant.

We may go so far as to invite someone over for dinner, but we tend to do so with those who look like us, talk like us, believe like us, and act like us. And before we even consider having these friends around, we’ll carefully engineer our homes and shape and polish our personas to communicate the best version of who we are—or at least the image that we hope to project.

But despite our cultural norms being increasingly bent toward a regaling spectacle, biblical hospitality and entertainment are not co-equal siblings. They’re really not even second cousins. In fact, they may be sourced from two opposing realms.

True hospitality is a cultural expression of other-oriented kingdom living. It transcends regional expectations of gourmet performance and focuses its energies on the blessing of honest and sincere relationships. It isn’t concerned with projecting an image of manicured lives devoid of stress, mess, and chaos. Instead, biblical hospitality flips the camera …

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