Page 15 - May 2022 - Truth & Tidings
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to the most unlikely home among them.   lers.  But for most it was selfish ambition.
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        Have I turned down invitations because   Hospitality initiated a series of reciprocal
        I thought there might be a “better” or   obligations, including public recognition
        “more comfortable” option?          and the exchange of gifts, and was typically
          Lydia and the Jailer at Philippi, both   used to try to gain power and influence.
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        heads of their respective households,   Hopefully neither of these motivate our
        also broke all social norms when they   hospitality. In stark contrast, the hospital-
        had Paul and Silas sign their guest books   ity of the early Church was motivated by
        (16:15,34). Wealthy Gentile merchants,
        like Lydia, didn’t invite travelling Jew-  love and characterized by self-sacrifice. No
        ish preachers to stay in their homes.   wonder it stood out!
        And prison guards didn’t lay out their   We see this in action throughout Acts, as
        best towels and facecloths so prisoners   we find believers opening their homes to
        could spend the night with their fami-  show love one to another (2:46), to share the
        lies. But salvation changed everything.   gospel privately (18:24-28; 28:30-31), and to
        Nationalities, cultural backgrounds and   support those engaged in evangelism and
        social standings no longer mattered in   teaching (16:13-34; 21:1-17). Their motives
        Christian hospitality. Have any of these   were clearly love for the Lord, His people
        kept me from having someone into my
        home?                               and the lost all around them. And their man-
                                            ner was self-sacrificial. Yet, in these homes
        Unexpected Hosts                    we also see God graciously working to
          A second uniqueness Dr. Arterbury   their own blessing: family members trusted
        identifies in early-Church hospitality is   Christ (16:34), children went on to serve
        how often women are named as hosts.    the Lord (12:12), and saints were united in
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        In Acts we find Mary (the mother of   heart and soul (2:46; 4:32). There are many
        John Mark), Priscilla and Lydia – quite   blessings to be experienced while blessing
        possibly a widow, a wife and a single   others in our homes.
        woman, respectively. Clearly, hospitality
        is something we can all practice. Now,   Unexpected Discrepancies?
        speaking to husbands, do we support   What do people say about us? Is our
        our  wives’ spiritual  desire to have
        people into our homes? Speaking to   home “an oasis of kindness”? Do we make
        those who are single, is your table being   casseroles to share the gospel? Do I truly
        used for God? Be encouraged; the Lord   “embrace the world”? We say the gospel
        used unlikely hosts, men and women,   is for whosoever. We claim we are one in
        in the early Church to greatly bless and   Christ with all believers. Now, are these true
        further His work.                   at our kitchen tables – the way they were in
                                            the early Church?
        Unexpected Motives
                                            ¹⁰ Andrew E. Arterbury, “Entertaining Angels:
          What motivated Greco-Roman hos-   Hospitality in Luke and Acts,” Christian Reflection,
        pitality? For some it was fear, believing   Published by The Center for Christian Ethics at
        the gods avenged mistreated travel-  Baylor University (2007), 21.
                                            ¹¹ Gutacker, “Early Christian Hospitality in
        ⁹ Arterbury, Entertaining Angels, 97.  Context.”

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