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Generous Hospitality

Generous hospitality means being kind and welcoming to everyone we meet. Our generous hospitality can be a doorway Jesus uses to connect with others.

Hospitality is big business today. A vast empire of chefs, bakers, designers, builders, decorators, redecorators, rehabbers, and party planners are ready with whatever advice, service, or products you need.

When people hear “hospitality” they usually think about inviting people over for a meal or event like a birthday party, graduation party, Super Bowl party, movie marathon, or something like that. Those kinds of things do require hospitality. But we’re talking about something different, something bigger.

We’re talking about inviting someone into your life, and the willingness to be invited into someone else’s life.

Generous hospitality includes a lot of things — how we interact with people, view people, welcome people, listen to people, converse with people, and more. It’s not just about throwing or hosting a party. It’s about offering generous and sincere kindness, friendship, and welcome to all people.

Generous hospitality can happen anytime, anywhere by simply showing up and being fully present, fully engaged, and fully available to be used by God in the life of another person by sharing myself, my time, my friendship, my abilities, and my resources.

Hospitality flows from a solid understanding (head) of Jesus’ example that shapes our attitudes (heart) and influences our actions (hands). In other words, hospitality flows out of the whole person as we abide in Christ and become more like him.

Listen to some thoughts from BibleProject about God as a generous host.

Warm-Up

Begin with a conversation starter,​ then use some of these warm-up questions.

  • What comes to mind when you hear the word hospitality?
  • When have you felt really invited, welcomed, or included by someone (not at a party or event — just in everyday life)? What did that person do or say to make you feel that way?
  • Think of a time when you felt left out, overlooked, or unwelcomed. What caused you to feel that way?
  • How would you describe generosity?
  • How would you rank yourself on a hospitality scale: very, sort of, not so much, not at all. Why?
  • How would you rank yourself on a generosity scale: very, sort of, not so much, not at all. Why?

Read & reflect

Use one or more of these passages to see what scripture says about generous hospitality. You can also engage with the passage by copying out part of it, rewriting it as a prayer, rephrasing it as its opposite, summarizing it with a single word or phrase, making a list or chart of similar and dissimilar things, or turning it into something visual like a doodle, design, or flowchart.

Jesus' Example

Read Luke 19:1-10 (Jesus and Zacchaeus), Luke 8:40-56 (Jesus, Jairus, and the bleeding woman), or Mark 10:13-16 (Jesus with little children).

  • How would you describe or rank the crowd’s generous hospitality to people in the story?
  • What could they have done to be more generously hospitable?
  • What do you notice about how Jesus interacts with the crowd and individuals? How are his words and actions inviting, welcoming, and caring?
  • Define “generous hospitality” based on the words and actions of Jesus in this story. What’s one way you can imitate that same kind of thing in your life at school? at home? at work?

Positive Example

Read Acts 10:1-17 (Peter and Cornelius).

  • Do you know any people who have worked to overcome separation and non-friendship like in this story? Talk about that: what happened? how did people react? how were people changed?
  • Talk about the attitudes of Peter and Cornelius. What role did Jesus and the Spirit play in their changed view of the other person?
  • Is there someone that you need to reach out to with friendship and generous hospitality?

Negative Example

Read Luke 10:38-42 (Jesus at Martha and Mary's house).

  • Make a list of Mary-things and Martha-things in this story (attitudes, actions, words). What do you notice?
  • What do you think caused Martha to move from generous hospitality to grumpy selfishness? How can you avoid the same attitude shift in yourself?

Teaching Passage

Read Luke 14:7-14 (parable about the wedding feast) or Luke 10:25-28 (loving neighbor as self).

  • What is one main thing these verses teach about generous hospitality and how we should view and treat others?
  • How does that one main thing relate to your own life of following Jesus?

Some Ideas About How to Show Generous Hospitality

  • Notice and make room for people in the lunchroom who are usually alone.
  • When you meet someone new at school or work, introduce yourself, ask their name, and remember their name for the next time you see them. In the next conversation, learn something specific about that person (their interests, class schedule, activities).
  • On your own, without being asked, share with your mom or dad (or another adult you live with) something about your day, inviting them into your experiences. (They will love this — this is you being hospitable to them!)
  • Make a list of three specific ways you can be generously hospitable to a certain person or group of people this week (teachers, parents, coworkers, neighbors, other students in your school).

 

Student Card

Capernaum Version

More verses about generous hospitality

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:8-9, NIV)

When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34, NIV)

If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (Romans 12:7-10)

When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. (Roman 12:13)

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don't forget to show hospitality to stranger, for some who have done this have entertained angles without realizing it! (Hebrews 13:2)

Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. (1 Peter 4:9)

Resources for people who help others become more like Jesus.

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2103 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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