Hospitality for itnerants in ministry is sometimes harder to find in some areas than in others. Many cultures are very open and ready to share whatever meager resources they have with strangers passing through their community. But this can change from one village to the next. Sometimes you have to ask outright for the hospitality of food and a night's rest.
Nor are all hosts in such situations are openly friendly and welcoming. It may well depend on how they feel about your purpose or message.
In Matthew chapter ten, Jesus sends His disciples to villages in Israel (Israelis only) with the message that "the kingdom of Heaven is near," and as proof they were to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and drive out demons.
One would think that should make them popular where ever they went. But Jesus gave them instructions for how to seek out hospitality for the night, and how to handle it if they were denied. Their focus was to be on their message; not to bring luggage and move in to stay.
There may be a lesson here for ministers of the gospel today. Take time to read verses 5 to 15 to get this story in perspective.
Jesus instructed them to come with one simple message, "The Kingdom of Heaven is near," then heal the sick, deliver the demon-possessed and raise the dead. The grateful people would be likely to invite them into their homes. The disciples were to choose one, and give it their peace - or blessing.
Now, if that home was not really friendly and hospitable to them, the disciples were to leave it, shake the dust off their feet and take back their peace, or blessing. I understand this to mean, leave that problem behind; don't brood over it and get angry.
What is your experience with hospitality for itinerants in ministry? Have you had a situation where the hospitality turned sour and you had to leave in a hurry? Does that still grate on your spirit?
You need to shake it off and leave that behind you. It can hinder your ministry and make you afraid of accepting hospitality in any strange home.
Is there a lesson here for those who offer hospitality?
One thing I see is that if we invite to our home a traveling ministry person we are very likely to be blessed. (If the guest follows Jesus' instructions). I have found this to be true, and I've heard many others say the same thing. We don't have to wait until we have a fine house and plenty of food. Share what you have, and God will see that you have enough on hand, and whatever you give will come back to you in the days to come.
If you have received such giving, you will find it easier to offer it. Truly, you can't lose if you offer hospitality to itinerants in ministry. God has promised to reward you.
Let me know your thoughts and questions on giving in response to these articles.
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