As Christians, we are called to love and serve others, and hospitality is a significant part of that calling. Hospitality is not just about offering a place to stay or providing a meal for someone; it is also about showing kindness, generosity, and compassion to those around us.
In this post, we will look at 5 examples of hospitality in the Bible. We will examine the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Rahab, the widow of Zarephath, the Good Samaritan, and Lydia. Each of these stories demonstrates a different aspect of hospitality, from sacrificial giving to strategic planning.
Through these examples, we can learn more about what it means to show love and kindness to others, even in difficult circumstances.
Our hope is that this post will inspire you to practice hospitality in your own life, whether it is by inviting someone over for a meal, offering a place to stay, or simply showing kindness to those around you.
As Christians, we are called to be a light in the world, and hospitality is one way that we can shine that light to those around us. So let us dive into these 5 examples of hospitality in the Bible and see how we can apply them to our own lives.
Abraham and Sarah
One of the most well-known examples of hospitality in the Bible is found in the story of Abraham and Sarah. In Genesis 18, Abraham is sitting at the entrance of his tent when he sees three men approaching. He immediately gets up and invites them to stay and rest.
He then asks Sarah to prepare a meal for them. The visitors turn out to be angels, and they promise that Sarah will give birth to a son. Abraham and Sarah’s hospitality led to a miraculous blessing from God.
Abraham’s hospitality was exceptional. He not only provided the strangers with rest and food, but he also showed great respect and honor. When the strangers approached, he ran to meet them, bowed low to the ground, and called them “my lord.” Abraham’s hospitality was also sacrificial.
He offered the strangers the best he had – a choice calf, curds and milk, and bread – and served them himself. His hospitality was rewarded with a promise of a son and a blessing that would extend to all nations through his offspring.
Sarah’s hospitality was also noteworthy. She worked hard to prepare a meal for the strangers and served them with respect and humility. Her hospitality was rewarded with the promise of a son, even though she was beyond the age of childbearing.
Abraham and Sarah’s hospitality not only demonstrated their love for God, but it also showed their love for others, even strangers.
Rahab was a prostitute in the city of Jericho who showed great hospitality to the Israelite spies. In Joshua 2, Rahab hides the spies from the king’s men and even helps them escape. In return, the spies promise to spare her and her family when they conquer the city.
Rahab’s act of hospitality not only saved her own life but also played a crucial role in the Israelites’ victory over Jericho.
Rahab’s hospitality was courageous. She risked her life to hide the spies and lied to the king’s men to protect them. Her hospitality was also based on faith. She had heard of the Israelites’ God and believed that He was the true God.
Rahab’s faith and hospitality were rewarded when she and her family were spared and became part of the lineage of Jesus Christ.
Rahab’s example teaches us that hospitality is not limited to those who are wealthy or well-respected. Even a prostitute can show great hospitality and make a difference in the lives of others.
The Widow of Zarephath
In 1 Kings 17, Elijah comes to the city of Zarephath during a severe drought. He meets a widow who is gathering sticks and asks her for a drink of water and a piece of bread. The widow tells Elijah that she only has enough flour and oil to make one last meal for herself and her son before they die of hunger.
However, Elijah tells her to make him a small cake first, promising that God will provide for her needs. The widow shows incredible faith and hospitality by obeying Elijah’s request, and God provides an abundance of flour and oil that lasts until the end of the drought.
The widow’s hospitality was sacrificial. She gave the little she had to Elijah, even though it meant that she and her son would have nothing left to eat. Her hospitality was also based on faith.
She trusted that God would provide for her and her son, even in the midst of a severe drought. The widow’s faith and hospitality were rewarded with an abundance of flour and oil that sustained them throughout the drought.
The widow’s example teaches us that hospitality is not limited to those who have plenty. Even those who are in need can show hospitality and trust in God’s provision. It also reminds us that when we show hospitality to others, we may be blessed beyond our expectations.
The Good Samaritan
However, a Samaritan (who was despised by the Jews) stops and shows great hospitality by bandaging the man’s wounds, taking him to an inn, and paying for his care. The Samaritan’s act of kindness and hospitality teaches us to love and care for our neighbors, even if they are different from us.
The Good Samaritan’s hospitality was sacrificial. He went out of his way to care for the injured man, even though it meant putting himself at risk and paying for his care. His hospitality was also based on love. He saw the injured man as his neighbor, regardless of their differences in race or religion.
The Good Samaritan’s example teaches us that hospitality is not limited to those who are like us. It also reminds us that hospitality is not just about providing for physical needs, but it is also about showing love and compassion to others.
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas travel to the city of Philippi and meet a woman named Lydia. Lydia is a successful businesswoman who sells purple cloth. She invites Paul and Silas to stay at her house and shows them great hospitality.
Lydia also becomes the first convert to Christianity in Europe. Her hospitality not only provided a place for Paul and Silas to stay but also played a crucial role in spreading the gospel to a new continent.
Lydia’s hospitality was generous. She invited Paul and Silas to stay at her house, even though she may not have known them well. Her hospitality was also strategic. She was a woman of influence in her community and played a crucial role in spreading the gospel to others.
Lydia’s example teaches us that hospitality is not just about providing for physical needs, but it can also have a significant impact on spreading the gospel and building the kingdom of God.
These 5 examples of hospitality in the Bible remind us of the importance of showing kindness, generosity, and compassion to others. Whether it is by inviting someone over for a meal, helping someone in need, or sharing our resources, we can make a difference in the lives of those around us.
As Christians, we are called to follow the example of Jesus, who showed ultimate hospitality by sacrificing his life for us. Let us strive to be like Abraham, Rahab, the widow of Zarephath, the Good Samaritan, and Lydia, and use our hospitality to bring glory to God and bless others.
Hospitality is not just a nice gesture, but it is also an essential part of Christian discipleship. It is a way for us to show love and compassion to those around us, even those who are different from us. As we practice hospitality, we may be surprised by the ways that God uses it to bless others and bring glory to Himself.
In our fast-paced and individualistic society, hospitality is often neglected or forgotten. We may feel that we do not have the time or resources to show hospitality, or we may be hesitant to open our homes and lives to others.
However, as we look to the examples of hospitality in the Bible, we can see that hospitality is not just about what we can do, but it is also about our heart posture. It is about having a willingness to serve and love others, even when it is not convenient or comfortable for us.
In addition, hospitality can have a significant impact on spreading the gospel and building relationships with others. When we invite someone into our home or offer them a meal or a place to stay, we are creating a space for conversation and connection.
It is an opportunity to share our faith and our lives with others, and to show them the love of Christ.
As we seek to practice hospitality, we can also pray for opportunities to show love and kindness to those around us. We can ask God to open our hearts and minds to the needs of others, and to give us the courage and willingness to act on those needs.
And as we practice hospitality, we can trust that God will use it to bring glory to Himself and to bless others.
In conclusion, the Bible is full of examples of hospitality that can inspire us to show love and kindness to those around us. From Abraham and Sarah’s exceptional hospitality to Lydia’s strategic hospitality, these examples remind us that hospitality is not just a nice gesture, but it is also an essential part of Christian discipleship.
It is a way for us to show love and compassion to those around us, to spread the gospel, and to build relationships with others. As we seek to practice hospitality, let us trust that God will use it to bless others and bring glory to Himself.