I find it easy to invite friends over that I have an established relationship with. They know I could care less about cooking, so they aren’t going to expect a gourmet meal. Also, that I’m fond of paper plates but at least I get the decorative kind. I don’t need to stress about what we are going to talk about, as friends we can’t stop talking. But to entertain those I hardly know, let alone a stranger across the street, well, that just intimidates me. So, I was intrigued by the book “The Simplest Way to Change the World: Biblical Hospitality as a way of Life” by Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements. Yes, two pastors wrote a book on hospitality. There’s no teacup cover, tablescapes or recipes. This book encourages the reader to open their home as a place where God’s love is shown and the gospel is shared whether it is your neighborhood, work or church community.
We may think that hospitality is a choice but, as the authors share, we are commanded in scripture to be hospitable. They point out that “the words hospital and hospitality share a common etymology.” Do you have an unbelieving friend who is hurting? Or perhaps a co-worker dealing with a difficult teenager. The authors write:
Grasping that hospitality is a meaningful way that we care for spiritually sick people is why we do this…Because ultimately the end goal of hospitality is care and healing-we do the caring and Jesus does the healing.
This is something that every single Christian can do.
The authors have a response for every excuse one can come up with. Most of which I have said. They give great ideas on numerous opportunities to exercise hospitality; then offer a list of questions to stimulate conversation and work in talking about Jesus. For me, not knowing how to make small talk is the biggest hindrance to my being hospitable to the stranger. With this book, I no longer can use that as an excuse.
As Christians we tend to hang out with one another. While at work we know a co-worker’s marriage is suffering or across the street a neighbor has just been diagnosed with cancer. These are opportunities God gives us to love on someone and ultimately to share the love of Christ with them. Our mission field doesn’t have to be another country, it could simply be our backyard.
I highly recommend this book as a tool to encourage us in hospitality and to propel us to reach out to our neighbors, co-workers and unbelieving friends.
I received this book for free from Moody Publishers as part of the book launch team.