“For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry… But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”
“Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”
“Use hospitality one to another without grudging.”
1 Peter 4:9
When my boys were younger, we memorized Titus 1, and I put it on my heart as a goal for training my boys to be godly men. As we studied each character trait of the “bishop”, we looked up the original Greek words and definitions and discussed what God wants from the leaders and stewards of His church.
One of our favorite things that we studied was what it meant to be “a lover of hospitality”. The New Testament says a lot about hospitality. The Greek word for hospitality is philóxenos which means “fond of guests or generous to guests”. As we read that and the other verses about hospitality, we discussed ways that we could learn to be generous to guests and how we could practice by inviting people over.
As we invited people over, we learned about praying for who to invite and when, thinking of food we could each make to bless our guests, and ways we could be generous to our guests. The youngest would help pour canned veggies or fruit, or display a salad or veggie tray that the order helpers had cut up. The middles would help me make the main course. And the oldest would choose to make a dessert or side item of their choice. All of us would help clean up the house and set the table. IF we prayed and worked as a team, we ALL were blessed!!! IF we started fighting or IF I started getting demanding, and making it about “me” or “how the house looked”, etc, it didn’t go well.
Once I read (I wish I could remember where), ” Entertainment is about the Host or Hostess, Hospitality is about the guests.” Hospitality happens no matter what food is cooked or how the house looks. That’s why even our 3 year old can help! Hospitality is about being generous to all ages and guests, not just our best friends we like to hang out with.
Now even my oldest boys who are teenagers (actually all my children), often say they want to have people over. This week we are hosting a Spring Cookout with our church. ALL of us worked hard to prepare for this event. We thank God for the honor to have others in our home. Our hearts are to bless those who come over and to bring glory to God. Is all of this without trials? No. We are sinful people and we struggle. But with each step, we look to the Lord. We repent when we get demanding or selfish. We encourage when we get weary. We pray to God for help and for our guests. My prayer is that our young men grow in the Lord toward men who are “not self-willed, not soon angry… But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught…” (Titus 1:7-8).