We live in the most connected time in world history yet societally we are as isolated as we have ever been. We are connected through Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, Pinterest, Instagram, GroupMe, texting and whatever else some bored Ivy League student creates next week.
222 million adults in the U.S. have the ability to connect with the world with the touch of a button in their hand. Smart phones make it possible to communicate without being present with someone, and texting makes it possible without even hearing a person’s voice.
Technology has made communication so easy that we are addicted to convenience and we struggle to truly build relationships with one another. I am not against advances in technology, but I think it has great potential to draw us down a road of isolation.
Recent studies from Duke University and the U.S. Census Bureau suggest that our society is in the midst of a dramatic and progressive slide toward disconnection.
STATS ON LONELY AMERICA
- More people than ever live alone – 27.2 million people.
- More people say they feel alone than ever in our history.
- More people than ever say they have no one as a confidant.
- More people than ever are considered depressed due to loneliness.
- The number of “socially isolated” Americans has doubled since 1985.
God’s word speaks in a direct, relevant and timely way to the tension of what is uncovered in the above stats. Biblical hospitality leads people toward true community and fights against the disconnection that is so culturally prevalent.
HOSPITALITY ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES
- Hebrews 13:2 – Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
- 1 Peter 4:9 – Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
- Romans 12:13 – Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
- Romans 15:7 – Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
- Leviticus 19:34 – You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
- Titus 1:8 – Be hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.
Too often we view our homes as places of refuge, rather than a tool for gospel advancement. Michael Rhodes stated in his post earlier this week, “Christians can be generous with their time and money but stingy with their homes. We must repent from worshipping the comfort of our homes. Christ must gain his rightful place as the only refuge in our lives. Life will change for you when your home becomes a hub of hospitality rather than a hotel for the healed.”
Hospitality gives us the opportunity to display the gospel to those we welcome into our homes. Hospitality at its essence is about allowing others to feel both loved and welcomed, which is what Jesus has modeled for us in His kindness toward us. One of the greatest weapons we have been given to fight against isolation is the home. How do we practically open our homes and begin to build community as we live on mission?
HOSPITALITY MADE SIMPLE
Plan for it. My wife and I struggled for a long season to be hospitable. Our tendency was to just have the same people over, because it was what was comfortable for us. We finally had to put it into our budget and onto our calendar and in due time it became a regular rhythm in which we lived. I will keep it simple. Put it in your budget and plug it into your calendar and begin inviting people into your home or you will not do it. The Bible calls us to be hospitable with both believers and nonbelievers, so make sure you are inviting both.
Be you. Biblical hospitality is the opposite of entertaining. We’re inviting someone into real life in a way that they get to know the real us and feel comfortable enough to be their real self. Am I saying don’t clean up or don’t seek to cook a good meal? No. I am simply saying to let them see the real you. We tend to frantically clean up our house and make it as Pinterest-worthy as possible. Relax and let people see the real you and how God’s grace applies in your life and that everything isn’t always perfectly together for you and your family.
Sacrifice for it. Hospitality is not easy. Hospitality will cost you something, always. Opening up your home to others will cost money, take time and drain personal energy. It will shake up the peace and quiet that seems so sparse. There’s a good reason why Peter writes, Show hospitality without grumbling. It’s easy to complain; hospitality is costly. Don’t focus on what it costs. Focus on what it’s worth. God is in the business of using those who are sacrificial.
Hospitality is the practical outworking of the gospel. Hospitality not only displays kindness, but it aggressively flies into the face of isolation and brings about catalytic change within the communities that God has strategically placed us.