ARE WE NEGLIGENT IN OUR HOSPITALITY?
Hospitality, in the eyes of the world, is often viewed as a means to an end. We are hospitable to curry favour with our superiors or those who have more influence than we do; hospitality is a way of repaying someone for doing something which helps us or advances our causes, whatever they may be. Seldom is hospitality extended to those less fortunate than ourselves and almost never without a hidden agenda. However, this is not how Yahweh, Our Beloved God, views hospitality.
We begin with Leviticus 19 and verses 33 and 34, wherein we read: “If a foreigner stays with you in your land, do not do him wrong. Rather, treat the foreigner staying with you like the native-born among you — you are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am Adonai your God.” From this passage we derive the commandment from Adonai Yeshua, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We know from the time of Adom, the knowledge of Torah was present in the world. (Genesis 4:3,4) Thus, Avraham was following the commandment to show hospitality to strangers, when he ran to greet the three strangers who approached him, from out of the wilderness. What is amazing to me is that the ancient sages teach Avraham did this on the third day following his circumcision, the most painful time following the operation, according to medical science.
Even the treatment of slaves may be found within the bounds of hospitality. Maimonides, the great Spanish rabbi, taught that in times of hardship, the slave would receive care and sustenance even before the owner’s family. So, what does this mean to us today.
Hospitality is one of the primary instructions given to us by Adonai Yeshua. We find this in Matthew 25:35,36 – “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you made me your guest, I needed clothes and you provided them, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” When asked to explain His teaching, He responded, “Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did them for me.”
Beloved, believers in the One True God have an obligation to extend hospitality to even those who present themselves as unhospitable. There is no ‘tit-for-tat’ in the believing world. Thus, when we come upon beggars, we will provide them with something to eat or with the resources to obtain food. During winter, when we find someone outside, shivering from the cold we will share what we have with them. I have heard many excuses, many from believers, who claim the poor and destitute have brought this situation upon themselves and we are just enabling them; some say they are lazy and don’t want to work; others claim the government is the first line of help (Flash! Flash! We are the government).
Some time ago, my wife, Chantal, and I made a joint decision not to give money to beggars but to escort those who were hungry to a grocery store or a fast-food restaurant and buy them what they needed to eat. Of course, some refused our invitation, claiming they would rather have the money – these were very few in number. The feeling of helping those in need was its own reward and allowed us to share the Good news of Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, with them.
Dear Friends, when was the last time you extended hospitality to someone in need, whom you didn’t know?
CONSIDER: Do you believe in the Word of God? Do you believe you have an obligation to show hospitality to your fellows, even if you do not know them? If you consider yourself a believer and are not showing hospitality to those in need, are you a true believer in the One True God?
ACTION: Beloved, I urge you to consider your stance towards the person standing on the corner begging for money to buy food; I urge you to consider your degree of understanding of the needs of the woman who is shivering in the cold, in the doorway of a bank. I urge you to consider your Lord’s commandment and step forward in obedience.
PRAY: El Shaddai, God Almighty, You are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. You are the One who counts the hairs on our heads and cares for even the weakest among us. I pray, dear Abba, give me please a compassionate heart to those in need; give me please a desire to help those who, for whatever reason, are unable to look after themselves. In Your Beloved Name, I pray.
May the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.