“Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. . . We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.”
Feed the Angels
In John’s day, prophets, evangelists, and teachers traveled to spread the Good News. John wrote this letter to Gaius, a man whom John discipled and loved as a spiritual child, to encourage him to continue to invite these Christian servant leaders into his home for a meal or to stay the night. The Greek for “brothers and sisters” in this verse is for believers in Jesus, who are part of God’s family.
These Good News teachers would not accept help from unbelievers, so no one could claim they were teaching about Jesus for personal gain. The church body was fully responsible for taking care of these missionaries’ needs.
John wrote to encourage those who were kind to others. We need to encourage those who take Jesus to parts of the world we aren’t called to serve — pray for them, listen to them, and help in any way we can.
We don’t want any part of Christ’s body to grow weary and stop serving in the calling God has for them.
How can you encourage someone in the body doing the work God has called them to? It could be your pastor, small group leader, or a missionary. Maybe God is nudging you to write a check that will answer the prayers of a much needed ministry. Or if God lays it on your heart to call or write a note, please do it today. He may already have brought someone to mind.
But the encouragement and hospitality may be to help support a different member of Jesus’ body. As believers we all need encouragement, praise, and humble hospitality.
You might need to encourage a stay at home mom struggling with a new baby or taking care of three very active kids. She knows this is what God has called her to and she willingly serves with joy, but, oh, man, a text or a small gift from you would mean the world to her. She needs to know that someone notices.
You might need to invite those college girls over for dinner one night. Spaghetti, real home life, with conversations about living for Jesus around your table, may be just what they are craving. Encourage them that they can keep God’s vision for their life as they select majors and make relationship choices.
I thought it was interesting that most of the folks Gaius was hosting and helping were strangers to him. He might have guessed they were Jesus followers from their reputation around town or their last sermon, but what if he didn’t? What if Gaius was opening his heart, home, and dinner table to anyone in need that was passing through town?
Those on the path but still asking hard questions. Those hungry and depressed. Those without a home. Those who needed someone to tell them the truth, again. Those who were beat up by the enemy and questioning what this calling had gotten them into.
Whether a friend or a stranger, all need to know someone cares. All need courage infused into their spirit. All need to feel at home. All need a listening ear. All need not feel alone in their faith journey.
All need Jesus in the flesh to show up — that’s you.
If Gaius seems like the girl you follow online with the knack for hospitality or your mother-in-law who is an excellent cook without trying, but to you seems a little overwhelming or out of your league, remember this: Because Jesus knew who He was — secure in God the Father’s love — He could love to the utmost and serve to the lowest. Serve those that loved, hated, and would betray Him.
As a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit produces the same character and confidence of Jesus in you. You can’t count on yourself or your own abilities to encourage and be hospitable, but you can rely on Jesus to empower you to do the good works He has prepared in advance for you to do.
Don’t be too busy to show hospitality. God tells us your soup could feed an angel or better yet, it’s like doing it unto Jesus.
How has someone showed hospitality to you in a meaningful way? What’s one step you can take this week to intentionally care for another in Jesus’ name?Leave a Comment
Pearl Allard says
Stephanie, thank you for this explanation of hospitality. I’ve read books on the subject, but I’m not sure I’ve heard it explained so linked to encouragement before. That really widens its definition for me. Thank you for giving examples besides cooking, too. (Really struggle with that one though I know it’s important.) Correct me if I’m wrongly understanding, but it’s relieving to know there are multiple ways to show hospitality!
Beth Williams says
Great explanation of hospitality. I show hospitality once a month by baking cookies, cupcakes and helping serve with “Feed the Multitude”-program for less fortunate people. Sending cards, e-mails to people I know going through trials. Visit my aging dad in the assisted living four times a week to check on him and bring joy to the other residents lives. My hubby and I support a girl in Mexico through Ninos de Mexico, an orphanage. We send money each month and a little extra for birthday and Christmas. I love getting letters from her telling us what she got & how she is doing.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
This post on hospitality reminds me of the saying that ” Strangers are only friends we haven’t yet met.” I am so thankful I followed God’s nudging to encourage a “stranger” – a brother in Christ in the Middle East who followed my blog. (Talk about one of the hardest places to be a Christian – your life is literally on the line every day). God put this person in my path and I obeyed God’s nudge and what has evolved is a Christian school smack dab in evil’s backyard for orphaned and destitute children. The light and love of Jesus is being shared with those who may have never known Jesus had not God called me to encourage one of His children who was professing His name in this dark corner of the world. I love your post that shows that hospitality takes SO many forms and so often it involves showing it to “strangers” in Christ.
Hi ms bev
You are so right jesus finds us in the most unexpected places. And lines us up with people you least think.Im the same way. Im ina part of the world where im not allowed to go to church. But i try online church lol. And after all these years i found god through a tv. Im new at this and i have alot of questions but i have this joy thats unexplainable. But i thank all you beaytiful people out there that are setting up these sites for people like us who arent allowed. My family doesnt know what im doing. Dont stop doing what your doing your a blessing for others ❤
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Your comment really make me step back and appreciate the freedom that I have to go to church and walk down the street with my Bible under my arm. I realize that is not the case everywhere in this world. I applaud you for pursuing your faith even though it is not popular in your family or your culture. Jesus will reward you for continuing to seek Him!! If you are unable to have a Bible in your home, online you can go to Bible Gateway…www.biblegateway.com. It is good to read the words of other believers, but being in God’s Word itself is where He wants us to be. If you ever have questions PLEASE reach out to the women here. We may not have all the answers, but many of us have been believers for a long time and can point you to the answers in scripture. No question is too small – that’s how we all grow as believers. I am so glad that you have found unexplainable joy – that’s what God gives to believers…a deep peace and joy that surpasses all understanding and rises above our circumstances. Know that I will be praying for you sweet sister in Christ. Call on the Holy Spirit who God has given you for wisdom as you walk in His ways. There are so many good Bible study groups online like Deeper Waters which helps take you deeper into God’s word. I will pray that God will guide you to genuine sites that honor His Word. So good to have you among us…welcome and please make your prayer requests known as I know there are a lot of great prayer warriors in our group!
Love and blessings, Annalise,
Thank you sooo much for your help. Yes i actually found a bible online but was looking for an online group i can join to get help and you have answered that thank you ❤. Yea i was raised in a semi atheist family and just alot of other things on top of that. And i have lost alot of my friends and family ever since i started believing in god. So i have been really isolated for a couple of years. And yes please pray for me i have a legal issue i have been dealing with for a couple of years nows so please pray for me. I will always have you beautiful women in my prayers so grateful to have connected with you
With lots of love,
Beth Williams says
I’m proud of you for pursuing Christ in an unsafe place. I will pray for you also. May God help you with your legal issue.
Prayers that you can find friends and keep up the faith with such joy! I know He will reward you for doing this work!
Thank you so much for being such a support ❤❤❤
Rebecca L Jones says
I’ve gotten really nice comments from people I have prayed for which was encourging as I keep blogging.
This is beautiful. It’s an encouragement and a push that I strongly needed. Thank you.
Stephanie, what great grace our heavenly Father works through your words. “But the encouragement and hospitality may be to help support a different member of Jesus’ body. As believers we all need encouragement, praise, and humble hospitality. All need Jesus in the flesh to show up — that’s you.” Our Lord uses many ways to reach us and if we are not showing up, supporting each other as the body, getting our of our comfort zones and fears to reach out to the person in the pew next to us, to those who hurt us, are we loving our neighbor if we are only loving those who love us, are we bringing His presence where He needs us?
Hospitality is born out of His mercy and love in us thorough the gifts He has given us to share. I have struggled with this as I lean in to hear how the Lord needs me to do this for someone who hurt me in ways I can’t describe, as I beg forgiveness for the times I haven’t reached out and missed some one who needed His hand in the flesh, as I try to be humble when the flesh fights. As our Lord saw Hagar and watches over us, He missions us to see each other, to hear, to pray, to bear with each other for none of us is an island. It doesn’t take much, just a “Hi! How are you?” being present in the moment for each other. The good is a load is lightened, the best a person moved out of hard, frightening places. This is choosing life because its choosing Jesus who is the way, truth, and life, knowing that if He calls us to it, the Holy Spirit will empower us to do His will.
I am so thankful to my God for each of you, grateful to each of you, my sisters, for the courage given you to step out, to each person who sat with me in the hard spaces, who offered presence and words/thoughts/prayers of love, encouragement, and advice. I am so grateful to our Lord for helping me to be grateful for each baby step we take each time we say “Yes” to Him who loves us. Praise be to our Lord that He fills these jars of clay with His love for pouring out, how amazing He is 🙂 May we each be ready to see and hear our Lord each moment, to discern the ancient paths, the good way, His will for these moments, and step out in the “yes”, the courage and love that He gives us in Himself to give to those He wills 🙂 Praying that our Lord encourages and lifts you today in the ways He knows best 🙂
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
So thankful for you and your continual words of hospitality and encouragement! May He richly bless you today and every day!
Simply thank-you, for your beautifully written words.
Have a blessed day,
That was an absolutely beautiful word in due season. God bless and keep you
This was a very moving post Stephanie, thank-you, and to all that have shared. It’s a joy to extend the offer of hospitality to my son’s friends too. And appreciated whenever it’s offered to him.
Have a blessed day,