Hints for Hospitality- Giving an Invitation - 2 Kings 4: 8
April 9, 2024, 8:00 AM

One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat.

Do you know what the most important thing is about an invitation? You have a desire, a thought, or an intention that is directed toward another. A special invitation means that the host has you in mind.

There are general invitations. We see them all the time in the papers and bulletins. "You all come, 'cause everyone is invited." Indeed, we do want as many people as can to come and be part of our public worship, or fellowship, or celebration. I've also received invitations with computerized labels on them. I have been invited to an open house of a new store, or especially invited to buy a product.

A different type of invitation comes when someone writes or calls us to come over to their house. That is special because it is personal. There was no obligation of that person or family to do that. They just want to have us over, not to talk about a problem with the church, or personal counseling, but just because they want to enjoy time together.

There are people who have the gift of hospitality. Such people make others feel welcome and at home. While visiting informally in one’s home the hostess commented to me, “It is hard to think of you as a pastor, when you are so ordinary."  Well, I wasn't sure how to take that.

Peter Wagner talks about how you can tell if you have the special gift of hospitality. It's not the person who has their house spotless and spends hours preparing the meal where everything is just right. It is the one which is more concerned about you than how their house looks. It really doesn't matter if the cushions are exactly straight. One does not worry if the cake is a day old to serve it. Guests feel like they can just get up and get their own second cup of coffee without asking.       

This passage today speaks of a lady who saw how she could serve God by inviting Elisha and his servant to eat with her and her husband whenever they were in the area.

Even folks who may not feel they have a special gift of hospitality can invite others over to get to know them better. Developing Holy Hospitality is when we see that friendships can both minister to Christians and be ways for non-Christians to ultimately come to know the Lord.

Luke 14:15-23 records the parable of Jesus when the King puts on a great banquet and invites many guests. Unfortunately, they all have excuses, so he bids his servants to go out into the highways and byways and call on the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. He desires fellowship with them. We may not feel worthy, we may not feel like He cares, but the personal invitation for salvation is to all who hears His voice. Come and be saved.  In so doing a special relationship with God begins.

That is true Holy Hospitality.

Application:  Practice hospitality this week - invite someone for coffee, take them out for coffee or lunch, send a card, make a phone call.   

Prayer:   Lord, teach me to let go of my own agenda and reach out in ways You direct me to practice the gift of hospitality knowing all are welcome!