Hospitality is one of those Biblical words that has been redefined and limited to entertainment, to catering of a sort and to inviting people over for meals. While it is true that hospitality can include these elements, they are not a required part of it. It seems that in the economy of limiting women to specific roles, gender hierarchalists had to come up with a few more gifts for women since in the roles of leaders and heads of church and home, the men commandeered most of the gifts of the Spirit as part of their roles. Thus, the concept of a womanly gift that was centered in the home was created in redefining ‘hospitality’, so that women could be praised for being gifted in hospitality without offending any men.
This raises a few concerns. Will the real meaning of hospitality please reveal him/herself? Is hospitality actually a gift or manifestation of the Holy Spirit? Are there any gender divisions in the dispersement of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit? Is hospitality of any kind really gender limited?
In finding the definition of hospitality, don’t be too amazed that it is a word that defines an attitude. Are attitudes gifts of the Spirit? Not the last time I checked, although sometimes a manifestation of the Holy Spirit will help our attitudes. Manifestations of the Holy Spirit are those helps from God that are beyond human insights, understanding, and capability. Hospitality is an attitude of warm invitation, friendliness, openly receiving others into one’s space with generosity and cordiality. Biblically, hospitality is specifically required of those who serve the church in leadership capacities.
As I have matured in the Lord, I have discovered that for me, to be hospitable to everyone I can affords me many opportunities for personal ministry. Since leaders are called to be servants and serve the needs of others with what God gifts them, hospitality is an attitude encouraging opportunities to serve. By welcoming people into your space, whether car or table or home or wherever, we tell them they are received and accepted. We become a safe place. Being a safe place means that people will return again and again for comfort, healing, wisdom, insight and learning.
My encouragement to fellow believers is to become a safe place for people to visit. Be prepared to serve people with whatever gifts God is currently manifesting through you whether in the Holy Spirit or of the heart. In this way, whether others know it or not you will become a leader in God’s church. God will see the true hospitable heart and reward accordingly.