This scripture truly lays the basis for living in the family of God. It epitomizes the brotherly love that exists in the family of God and one of the many ways that love shoud be manifested within the family.
The verse reads as follows.
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Romans 12:13)
When we break this down we see a significant difference from the way this world treats extended family and what we should do as members of the family of God, especially in this day and age.
The bible teaches us that we should show hospitality to all people for it is the right thing to do. We have examples of the hospitality shown by the fathers of Israel in the Old Testament where they would turn people aside and feed them and offer accommodation and so forth. Such was the case with Abraham when he was met by the servants of the Lord as they journeyed to Sodom, and likewise from Lot when those same angelic servants went into Sodom before it was destroyed.
If you want to read the accounts of the hospitality shown by both Lot and Abraham, these can be found in Genesis chapters 18 & 19.
We know also as both Lot and Abraham found that we do not know who it is we may be showing hospitality towards. The bible teaches us that we should show hospitality because we do not know who we may be entertaining as Hebrews 13:2 tells us,
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
The degree of hospitality will vary with the circumstances. One of the best examples was the help offered by the Good Samaritan when he came upon a man beaten and robbed and left to die by the roadside. While there are many other messages in that teaching, it was the love and compassion shown by the Samaritan that shows the brotherly love and the hospitality to strangers that Christians should aspire to.
The Good Samaritan tended the mans wounds, placed him on his own donkey, carried him to an inn and paid the innkeeper to keep the injured man and tend his wounds until he was healed and offered to make up any shortfall or extra necessary on his return.
This is an extreme level of hospitality, but it does show the degree of love, mercy and compassion that should be the hallmark of all Christians.
But this does not mean we are to necessarily go out and look for those who are injured or maimed I order to show them mercy. This teaching is not a call to missionary work for not all are able to do that kind of work.
However we are called to assist those we can assist when the time or the need arises. As the bible tells us,
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)
The key in this scripture is “as we have opportunity”. It is as the opportunity arises we should do good, show hospitality, mercy and compassion to those who are in need and most importantly to our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
This is exactly the situation we see in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The situation presented itself where he could show hospitality and he did as was required. He did not go out looking for the opportunity but the opportunity came to him and he did what was right, unlike the other two men in that parable, as you can read in Luke 10:29-37.
This is in stark contrast with the way of this world especially in these last days as we approach the return of the Lord.
The fundamental principle that runs this world today, which is so much worse than even several generations ago, is, “What's in it for me”. The people of the world teach and preach a message of, “Look out for number one”, and you must self promote to get your fair share.
Look also at the message of some movies that promote a philosophy of “Greed is good!” And that philosophy has driven the world to bankruptcy more than once, especially most recently in the GFC.
This is no surprise in these last days for the bible tells us that in these days,
And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12)
This is the way of the world today. Consider the junk email I am sure you get. How many of those items do you believe are scams? How many people appear on current affairs programs who have been taken in by some of these scams or by loveless and evil con-men? How many lives have been destroyed by those who greedily seek profit over the welfare of people? How many can recall as children you would play on the streets without fear but today will not permit your own children to do the same for fear of strangers and the message of “stranger danger”?
This is the way of the world and it is deteriorating daily. We see it in the media and in stories on social media of all kinds of evil that permeates the world.
In time it will be Christians who may be the last bastion of love, mercy, compassion and hospitality…and they will be hated by the world as the bible also tells us.
That does not mean we should stop. In the face of hatred for doing good we must learn to turn the other cheek as Jesus did. Hospitality is an important hallmark of the Christian attitude and life in the family of God, so let us cultivate that attitude and remember always to follow this principle of hospitality as we deal with all that comes before us every day.
(Photo sourced from freeimages.com supplied by Teresa Howes)
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