Strangers scare me. The idea of being hospitable to a stranger scares me even more. What if they decide to assault me or something? What if they decide to take advantage of my kindness? These fears are rooted in a lack of love because perfect love drives out all fear.
Hospitality is the act of offering warmth to someone. Hospitality is about meeting needs and offering kindness. Being cordial is not the same thing as being hospitable. We often tie hospitality to our homes but it goes beyond that. Look at Matthew 10 for an example of hospitality.
Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs. And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.
There are plenty of other examples of hospitality in scripture but imagine this: What if when we were interacting with others, it were like interacting with Jesus? What if when we bought someone a drink, or brought someone clothes, it was like bringing Jesus a drink or bringing Jesus clothes? What if when we are hospitable to people we’re actually being hospitable to Jesus?
Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
You see, when we are hospitable to others we are actually being hospitable to Jesus.