On Being Hospitable

The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”

“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”

6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”

7 Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8 He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree. Genesis 18:1-8

Being hospitable to foreigners is the norm even to this day in the mid east and many nations around the world as well.

I’ve told the story before but it bears repeating. When we were leaving Tajikistan, we passed the motorcade for the President of Tajikistan. After we passed by we were pulled over by the police. They asked why we didn’t stop and wait for the President to go by. My driver, a Tajik, pleaded with the driver that he had foreign guests in the car and we were going to the airport. The implication was that the guests were more important than the President. We were let go.

This type of thinking applies to hospitality and to protecting those they are hosting. We’ll see that a little later.

Of course we can bemoan the fact that we are, in general, not a hospitable culture that we would invite strangers into our home regularly, but we can certainly learn. It all starts with one person for a coffee or dinner.

There’s a ministry we are affiliated with that works with Chinese students attending the University of Texas at Dallas. They have a program that matches “hosts” with students once a week for a few hours. The director has trouble finding American who want to take a student out or show him/her the town. With a ministry like that, we don’t have to travel 4000 miles to China or Vietnam or Papua New Guineau. They’re here and desperately want to find out more about Americans and their crazy culture. It’s a beautiful way to introduce them to Christ.

I don’t think this is the only ministry in the country like that. When we lived in Virginia Beach, they began an outreach to students in the Summer. It was brilliant because it paired students with sponsors. The only thing sponsors had to do was to host and feed them for the summer.

Most major cities have this type of program, and most programs have to beg for participants.

Consider programs in your area like this. You won’t regret the experiences.

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