In this guest post fellow blogger Jenna Oates reminds us of the essence of hospitality–taking the initiative to care for another person with an attentive, warm, and Christlike heart.
I was first introduced to the concept of biblical hospitality as a sophomore in college. Someone gave me a book called The Gospel Comes With a House Key, written by Rosaria Butterfield, and within the first few pages I was hooked.
I always loved the concept of sharing meals with others or getting to know my neighbors, but wasn’t sure what hospitality looked like in the 21st century where so much of our interaction is digital through social media or Facetime.
Rosaria, however, defines radically ordinary hospitality as, “A way of life that sees every day as an opportunity to practice hospitality from right where you are. You don’t have to be somebody else to do this. You have to be you.”
An excellent verse that talks about hospitality is 1 Peter 4:8-9 that reads, “Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining.” (CSB)
Another verse that has become very near to my heart as I work to make hospitality a way of life is 1 Thessalonians 2:8, which says, “We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.” (CSB)
Hospitality doesn’t have to be an elaborate 5 course meal. It can be as simple as sharing our lives with those around us through everyday tasks and conversations.
10 Ways to Live Out God’s Love in Everyday Interactions
1. Open Your Home
When most people think of hospitality, the first thing that comes to mind is opening their home. This is the most traditional understanding of hospitality.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy thing. Sometimes it’s just tossing together some pasta or ordering pizza and having a couple of friends or neighbors over. There’s something special about sharing your space, giving people a place to relax and feel welcome.
And you know what? It isn’t about showcasing a picture-perfect home or serving gourmet food. It’s about the intention, that genuine heart behind it that aims to show God’s love. That is at the core of the beautiful ministry of homemaking.
2. Actively Listen
Another simple way to show biblical hospitality is to just listen. I mean really, truly listen.
You ever notice how, when reading the Gospels, Jesus had this amazing ability to be completely present with the people He was with?
Take the woman at the well, for instance. In John 4, Jesus has this deep conversation with a Samaritan woman. Samaritans and Jews typically didn’t mingle, yet Jesus gave her His undivided attention, listening to her and engaging in a way that transformed her life.
It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our thoughts, planning our next reply, or sometimes even, jumping to conclusions. But there’s something powerful in just being present. It gives them a safe space, just like Jesus did. And sometimes, all someone needs is to feel heard.
Serving others is another meaningful way to show biblical hospitality.
Think about the time Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Can you imagine? The Savior of the world, getting down and doing such a humble task. It wasn’t about the act itself but more about what it stood for – service and love.
Serving doesn’t have to be some grand gesture. It can be helping a neighbor with their garden or watching their kids for a bit while they run to the grocery store.
Sometimes, the most meaningful acts of service are the simple, everyday things we do to show we care.
4. Welcome the Stranger
Another way I have been working on living out biblical hospitality is by welcoming the newcomer, the stranger.
Remember those bits in the Bible where it keeps saying to care for the foreigner or the outsider? (Lev. 19:33-34; Matt. 25:25). It’s pretty clear that looking out for those who might feel a bit out of place is close to God’s heart.
Think about it. How great does it feel when you’re the new person on the block, or in the office, or at the church, and someone just reaches out, makes you feel seen? Being that welcoming face to a newcomer can mean the world.
5. Be an Encourager
Encouragement is an easy way to show hospitality to others. Words – they can either make or break someone’s day.
Remember those times when just a simple compliment or a kind word changed your whole day? Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
It doesn’t have to be an eloquent speech; sometimes just a ‘Hey, you got this!’ or ‘You’re doing great!’ can mean a lot to someone.
In our everyday lives, being that beacon of hope and positivity – it’s like sharing a bit of God’s light. We get to be the cheerleaders for the people around us.
6. Be Present
This cannot be emphasized enough. Something I’ve been noticing lately in our world of constant notifications, dings, and screens, is that genuinely being face-to-face with someone is becoming kind of a big deal. How often do we catch up with a friend, but halfway through, we’re sneaking glances at our phones?
The truth is, just giving someone our full focus is an act of love these days. It’s like saying, ‘Hey, at this moment, you matter more than anything else to me.’
Being wholly present–being all there for someone–is biblical hospitality. When we put away distractions and truly engage, it’s our modern way of embracing that deep-rooted call to connect.
7. Support Those in Crisis
You know those people who always show up for others when they’re in the thick of it – like during those really tough times? They’re being hospitable towards others.
Jesus was always there, comforting those in pain and reaching out to the hurting. In the Gospel of John, chapter 11, when Lazarus dies, both Mary and Martha are in deep grief.
Upon arriving in Bethany, Jesus encounters Martha first and offers words of hope, saying, “Your brother will rise again” (John 11:23). When He later meets Mary, she falls at His feet, expressing her pain and sorrow. Seeing her weeping, and the others with her also weeping, Jesus is deeply moved and troubled.
This moment shows Jesus’ profound empathy and compassion. He wasn’t just performing miracles as a display of power but was deeply connected with the pain and emotions of those around Him.
Supporting those in crisis can be like when a friend’s in the hospital and you drop by just to keep them company, a neighbor has a baby and you drop off some a postpartum gift, or when someone’s going through a rough patch and you’re there to listen or lend a hand.
Being there during a trial or new phase of life, offering a shoulder or even just sitting in silence with them – it resembles Jesus’ love and compassion .
8. Share with Others
Sharing is another super practical and impactful way of showing hospitality.
Reflecting on the early Christians, they epitomized a sense of communal care, generously distributing their resources to ensure everyone’s well-being (Acts 4:32).
Whether it be through donating clothes, buying groceries for the family you know is struggling to make ends meet, or making space for someone to stay a few nights in your home, sharing is one of the most practical ways to let people know you care about them and God loves them.
9. Be Respectful
One thing that constantly strikes me is how every single person we meet is a reflection of God’s image. It’s so easy to forget that sometimes, especially when opinions clash or things get heated.
But really, if we stop and think about it, shouldn’t we approach everyone with the same kind of respect and love that we’d offer to a cherished friend or family member? And that means holding back those snap judgments, even when it’s tempting.
Opening our hearts and minds, diving into conversations with genuine kindness and patience — that’s the kind of respect and biblical hospitality I aspire to show every day. It’s like a daily challenge to see God in everyone and respond in kind.
Jesus dined with sinners (Matt. 9:10-17). Extending hospitality will require us to meet with people we may disagree with. That doesn’t mean we can’t show them love. There is a difference between approval and acceptance.
10. Extend Forgiveness
When we dive deep into the essence of biblical hospitality, there’s one undeniable truth that surfaces: forgiveness. Walking in Christ’s footsteps means recalling how He forgave, even when faced with the unfathomable.
We all encounter those little hiccups in relationships, don’t we? Misunderstood words or unintended slights. But what if, together, we chose to rise above the instinct to hold onto grudges? What if we prioritized understanding and forgiveness?
Especially with the bigger rifts, actively seeking to bridge the divide. It’s a challenge, no doubt. Yet, as we embrace this path of forgiveness, we’re not just embodying biblical hospitality but also grace and peace.
Final Thoughts About Hospitality
In wrapping up our journey through biblical hospitality, it’s essential to remember that hospitality doesn’t come with a list of qualifications or prerequisites. It’s not about grand gestures or flawless execution; it’s about simplicity, heart, and intention.
True hospitality often nudges us out of our cozy corners, asking us to create margin in our daily routines, to make room for others—even when it’s unexpected or disrupts our plans. It’s a call to let go of our own comfort to embrace another’s need.
As we incorporate these ways into our daily rhythms, we’re not just being polite or kind; we’re becoming vessels of God’s boundless love. Let’s challenge ourselves to be the change, to let our lives reflect a hospitality that draws others closer to His heart.
Join the Conversation
- Which of the ways to demonstrate biblical hospitality resonated most with you, and why?
- In what ways can practicing biblical hospitality deepen your own spiritual journey and relationship with God?
- How can you create intentional spaces in your routine to foster deeper connections and welcome others?
About the Author
Jenna Oates is a stay-at-home mom and a passionate blogger focusing on pregnancy, postpartum, and motherhood. Through her personal experiences and relatable insights, she offers guidance, inspiration, and a sense of community to fellow moms on their parenting journey. Jenna writes at https://jennaoates.com.
P.S. As you pursue showing hospitality, don’t forget to pursue the Lord in prayer. Pray for opportunities to use your home for Christ’s kingdom and to display His love. These prayer and verse cards for the home work wonderfully for this. I keep them by my kitchen sink to glance at when washing dishes. – Dani