August 20, 2009

Reviving Hospitality

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:01 pm by Editorial Team

In welcoming three visitors, it was believed that Abraham welcomed the Holy Trinity.

Rublev's icon The Hospitality of Abraham: In welcoming three visitors, it was believed that Abraham welcomed the Holy Trinity.

Our culture has become so time/task focused that we have forgotten the reason why we measure time and tasks.  Productivity has become an end in and of itself.  We live harried, stressful lives that hardly create time for anything.  The Bible teaches us that the part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is patience.  The idea of patience falls in stark contrast to the idea of productivity.  They are somewhat antithetical.  Productivity consists of time and tasks.  Patience ultimately revolves around people.  In being patient, we submit ourselves to the needs of others, rather than our own need to get things done.  Patience involves showing hospitality to others and waiting on them.

Our society is founded upon the principle of work and profits; thus patience is a hard goal to achieve.  Patience involves giving the unexpected visitor the “time of day.”  Patience must involve love.  It must take the ability to set aside the task at hand and welcome the interruption of a visitor.  By welcoming a visitor, one may be entertaining an angel, or even the Messiah.  One certainly wouldn’t want shut the door in one of these faces.

In certain cultures that do not measure productivity and efficiency as we do, visitors are treatment with the highest level of hospitality.  They are seated in the highest places and treated with the utmost respect.  A visitor may have traveled great distances, and it would certainly be rude to show respect for their sacrifices.  In our culture, we assume that the journey is not so arduous, and so we show less respect.  We find excuses and we even deny people, simply because they have not made an appointment.

We must be willing to welcome all people.  But especially those who are inconveniences to us.  It is one thing to honor the planned guest — the family member or close friend.  But to honor the stranger, or even an enemy — this is the Godly discipline.  But it’s what we are called to do — to lay aside our selfishness and to welcome people.  If we cannot welcome people, how can we begin to welcome them into the kingdom?

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