Last weekend we had a “Hospitality Matters” conference for our local congregation. We emphasized hospitality because we are on the verge of opening a new worship center and a new area devoted to believers spending time with other believers – – what Christians often called “fellowship.“
We had a wonderful presenter named Mark Waltz. Mark has obviously thought deeply about helping people know Christ by helping people become part of the church of Christ.
As I considered the events of this weekend several thoughts came to mind. First, this is mostly common sense and good manners. It is simply thinking of other people first and treating them as you want to be treated.
Second, it is a mindset that comes from God Himself.
Third, this is all based on God‘s Word and God’s desires for human beings.
As Mark presented and as I see it, this mindset of hospitality is based on Holy Scripture.
God’s Word begins by showing that human beings are created in the image of God. At the very beginning God said, “Let us make man (mankind) in our image, according to our likeness . . . And God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26–27).
God intended that every person matters and every person counts. When we seek to reach out to other people, we do so out of our common understanding that each and every person is created in the image of God.
Paul could not have made this any clearer in a practical sense than what he said to the Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus“ (Galatians 3:28). All three of those comparisons offended the people of Paul’s day but showed what God thinks and how Christians must function.
Because we are the people of God created in His image, we matter to God.
For this reason we welcome others into the church. For this reason we seek to help them know Christ as we know Him and experience life changing relationships.
As we encourage other people to know Christ, we must relate to them in ways that make sense to them. Jesus told us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. He meant that we would treat other people with respect and decency. He meant that we would go out of our way to be a blessing to others that they might know the blessing that comes through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hospitality matters because people matter.