For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.
For Christians, a delight in the guest/host relationship reflects the expectation that God will play a significant role in the ordinary exchange between guests and hosts. This lends to hospitality a sacramental quality. — William Lane
I grew up conflating the practices of community and hospitality. I love long meals with friends. In eating, talking, and laughing together we share life in ways where we all seem to leave better than we came. This is the practice of community.
Hospitality throws a wrench in community — it embraces someone who is out of sync with the community. She might have trouble entering in to the group, or try to do so too fast. She doesn’t know how to engage. Her jokes don’t seem to land. In some ways the presence of the outsider is a sacrifice for the community.
Hospitality works through community and converts the outsider to the beloved.
[Hospitality] especially goes after and welcomes people whom the world excludes. People who are different. People who are unlovely. People who are un-wealthy. People who are unconnected. When you make people like that feel welcome, when you make people like that feel included, you have God’s spirit of hospitality. It’s an attitude of the heart. — Timothy Keller
Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ… having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ… So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. — Ephesians 2.12-13, 19
Though we were outsiders, the community of the Trinity sacrificed greatly to bring us in. Dr. Keller clarifies, “Hospitality is an attitude of heart and a practice. It’s an attitude of heart that seeks to turn strangers into guests, friends, and eventually brothers and sisters.” Sacrifice is the true spirit of hospitality and salvation is its fruit.