Hospitality does not involve donning an apron and baking brownies for a room full of Christians. Hospitality is an evangelistic gift, because in the first century, ministry was done primarily out of your home. Leaders in the early church were required to open their homes, welcoming people and feeding them for the sake of the gospel. You didn’t just share your thoughts with them via a sermon. You shared your life. Authenticity is hard to fake, and people soon sniff out hypocrisy; but in the home, it’s near impossible to fake. If you’re fit to lead, then the gospel will have saturated the home front first. If the home front isn’t secure, then there’s no point in rushing out to conquer no man’s land. People will see what a difference Jesus has made to your family, and the impact of your ministry on them before anybody else.
Being hospitable means being generous with your money, possessions, home, family, time, and life. Don’t you find it odd that ministers won’t open their homes because they are afraid of getting hurt? Since when was “not getting hurt” and protecting yourself the way of the Master? If that had been Jesus’s practical philosophy of ministry, he’d never have gone to the cross. The church becomes a battlement in which the preacher stands king-like on the pulpit like a parapet, hurling out commands and inspirational speeches to the people. Very few peons are ever privileged enough to get an audience. They are told “Nobody sees the Wizard!” and the door is shut and bolted. The King of Kings was accessible, available, and inviting. He spent time with people he knew would hurt and betray him, judge him, misunderstand him, and eventually crucify him. If you’re overly worried about getting hurt, the ministry was the wrong career move for you. Like the late great Walter Martin used to say, “Ministering is like being a boxer. Getting hit is an occupational hazard”.
Obviously, you must guard your family from serious harm and not put them in compromising situations. These will include not inviting dangerous people to spend the night, or allowing sexually broken people babysit for you. You will also need to know where the boundary lines between family time and ministry time exist and what times they cannot be crossed. Like Jesus you will need to rest and send people packing.
Sometimes when your house is like Grand Central Station, you need to board the platform yourself and get away from the madding crowd. Nonetheless hospitality is a spiritual gift necessary to effectively reaching your community. More ministry can be done by allowing somebody to watch how you talk to your wife, and spend leisure time with your kids, than by sitting in a ministry training class.
A lover of the good:
To a Greek, “the good” was an aristotelian ideal. It spoke of deep character, and a love for honor, chivalry, bushido, or whatever you want to call it. Even though these ideals are vanishing from our culture entirely, they are still valuable. Gone are the days where the Quaker Oatmeal man came on t.v. and said, “It’s the right thing to do”. To sum it up, if loving the Lord is wrong, then he doesn’t want to be right (Coming to America Reference). There is a sense of honor that each planter needs to have. It can’t be taught. It’s there or it isn’t. It’s an inner strength that keeps the soldier humping a 75 pound pack up a steep incline in the burning sun under the barking abuse of a drill instructor yelling profanities about his mother. It’s the resolution to not quit, not give up, never surrender, never say die. He stands and takes a beating like Rocky Balboa, not because Mickey is yelling at him, but because his coach, Jesus is standing at the finish line pulling for him.
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.