We talk about hospitality frequently in the church. But I question whether we understand abundant generous hospitality. This morning as part of my daily reading program, I read Genesis 18. It is the story of Abraham, lodging by the oaks of Mamre, who is visited by three men. Abraham ran from his tent upon seeing them standing near by. How incredible is it that he “ran”? For that time very incredible , and maybe even some for today. How many of us run to greet guests these days?
He bows to the ground upon meeting them. I think we can understand that Abraham recognizes the LORD, YHWH, in this group of three men. Abraham invites all three of them to join him in some food and water and rest. After the invitation, Abraham “hastens” to have the best ingredients of the house made into fresh food for these strangers. Then he served them, standing “by them under the tree while they ate.”
This time of year around Christmas, we have many family members come and go. Some of us have some visitors that are non-family who join us. So I’m left wondering how generous are we? Do we recognize the LORD in the visitation? Do we “run” and “hasten” to attend to their needs, serving them, standing by as they eat, drink and rest, providing the best that the house has? I’m afraid such hospitality is not the norm these days. Homes have become castles of defense and exclusion, rather than places of invitation and of generous hospitality. I am sadden that I have not been more invitational and of generous hospitality this pass year. Could it be a new beginning I should seek in my prayers to the Lord? I think so.