Lawrence Neisent

Pursue the practice of hospitality (Part 1)

HGTV House Hunters is a US reality show that follows people searching for a place to live. When looking for a new home the focus is the inside and outside of the house itself. Granite countertops, landscaping, curb appeal, etc. One question they never ask is, “Who are the neighbors?” But the people we live next to will have a huge impact on the quality of our lives.
Hopefully you have experienced having some really good neighbors in your life. Perhaps more importantly you have been a really good neighbor to others. In the grand scheme of things, relationships are much more important than bricks and mortar, and our neighborhoods are much more than a collection of houses. Our homes are tools to use to focus on the that which really matters, people.
Actions speak louder than words. It is ineffective to believe the writings of scripture without embracing the ways of the Savior. When Jesus wanted to explain to his disciples what his death was all about, he didn’t give them an informative lecture. He gave them a relational meal.
In a society that has grown so relationally disconnected, an invitation to Biblical hospitality might be one of the most compelling and irresistible aspects of Christianity.
Rom 12:10-13 Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor; 11never lagging behind in diligence; aglow in the Spirit, enthusiastically serving the Lord; 12constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength], 13 contributing to the needs of God’s people, pursuing [the practice of] hospitality. AMP
“Pursuing the practice” is translated from the same Greek Word we find used in Phil 3, “press on.”
Phil 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me… 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. NIV
The command to pursue hospitality in Romans 12 is given in the context of presenting ourselves to God as living sacrifices. To pursue hospitality out of obedience is to “plan for it, prepare for it, pray about it, and seek opportunities to do it.” We’re called to push through our anxieties and conquer our excuses as part of our call to expand God’s Kingdom in the earth.
Lawrence Neisent