One of the thing we have enjoyed about living in Kenya is the idea of Hospitality. In the time that we have lived here we have learned more about being good hosts than in our entire married lives in the United States. It seems we almost always have people staying with us which is amazing. I’m actually sorry we didn’t start a guest book to keep track of the number of people who have spent the night at our house. I absolutely love it and it just isn’t a thing we ever did before we moved here. The Bible is full of reminders to be hospitable and it isn’t something I ever took to heart. I can’t imagine ever wanting to live any other way.
1 Peter 4:8-9 English Standard Version (ESV)
8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
I like that “loving one another earnestly” and “showing hospitality without grumbling” are placed side by side here. In order to love people well you have to let them invade your space, you can’t love people well from a distance and what better way to do that than having them literally in your space. Sure, sometimes it’s an inconvenience but have you really served anyone if you haven’t been inconvenienced? The Greek word used here is Xenia which translates hospitality and not just for family and close friends but for strangers and people far from home, travelers and pilgrims. You may not be familiar with the word but you may have heard xenophobia that comes from it. The “strong dislike of people from other countries”. I’m not trying to get political here but I am going to point out a few verses that I think are important.
Hebrews 13:2 English Standard Version (ESV)
2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
James 1:27 English Standard Version (ESV)
27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Matthew 25:35 English Standard Version (ESV)
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me
I think I had and still have a lot to learn about being a good host and a good servant but I am so thankful that God has brought me to this amazing country so I can learn. The Bible calls us to not only share the love of Christ and to act it out by serving one another but also others who may not know you yet. Giving someone bread and sharing bread together are two very different things.