Hospitality as a Ministry, Part 2

Yesterday, I posted on the first part of this brief series. Today we will look at the last two points I have learned about hospitality in the last few weeks.
  1. Hospitality is not gender specific. Often we think that hospitality is only for women. But here we see that Paul is writing to Roman believers, men and women. He doesn’t make gender distinctions in the command to show hospitality. I have heard it said many times that hospitality is a woman’s job, but Paul does not go there, and we know from other passages of Scripture that Paul is in no way afraid to make distinctions between the different callings on men and women. In Titus 1:8 we see that for a man to be qualified to lead God’s people he must be hospitable (among other things). Throughout the Gospels we encounter men (and women) who willingly invite Jesus and his disciples into their homes. The Bible clearly shows us that God did not limit hospitality to a specific gender when he inspired Paul to pen these words.
  2. Hospitality is not contingent on marital status. Along with thinking that hospitality is only for women, we also tend to associate hospitality with married women—especially ones with their own homes and nice, new things. I have seen single women refrain from hospitality because they think they don’t have enough space, or the right things. But once again, Paul does not make this distinction. If we believe that practicing hospitality is an opportunity to show the love of Christ to people, then surely this applies to single women too. Carolyn McCulley, a single woman, has an entire chapter on hospitality as a ministry in her book Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye. She says, “Our homes can provide an oasis in many a busy life to demonstrate interest in and care for those around us.”

Perhaps you have an extremely demanding job and are not home often, ask God to give you wisdom to live out this command in the midst of a hectic schedule. For you, it might mean one guest a month. Maybe you are a young mother and are spent at the end of the day. For you, it might mean inviting an unsaved mom over to befriend her and allow your kids to play. God cares about a heart that desires to minister, not duty for duty’s sake.

We have been invited into God’s family. He extended hospitality to us, and this should make us grateful. The desire to be hospitable should be out of the overflow of a humble heart, changed by the work of Christ, who desires the world to know the greatness of Jesus Christ. We don’t minister to gain glory for ourselves. We minister to gain glory for our Christ.