August 2: Hospitality

Read 3 John 1-15 

Every time I go to Cambodia and Thailand, I am always floored by the hospitality shown. Our brothers and sisters there go way out of their way to accommodate us including preparing feasts for a few of us that could fill a dozen people!

As stated yesterday, preachers, ministers and missionaries traveled from church to church teaching. It was very common for members of the receiving church to extend hospitality to these teachers by housing and feeding them. In 2 John, there was an issue with people housing heretical false teachers. In this letter, John addresses abstaining from showing hospitality to God’s true workers.

The problem was with the church’s leader. Diotrephes apparently had a pride issue. John said that he “likes to put himself first.” He even denied the authority of the apostles and those who would come to teach them doctrine. In his arrogance, Diotrephes not only refused to show hospitality to these brothers, but he threw anyone who helped them out of the church!

Gaius, a man John could trust, was faithful and walked with the truth. John wanted to encourage him to keep on showing hospitality despite persecution from Diotrephes. Showing hospitality, like all good works, demonstrates his faith and allows him to be called a “fellow worker in the truth.”

By supporting the missionaries with food and lodging, Gaius was a participant in the mission of God.  All Christians must be participants in the mission of God.  We are all called to make disciples whether in another nation, another state, in your town or in your house. Whether you pray for missionaries, finance missionaries or house missionaries, you must be a participant in God’s kingdom cause because He loved us first! John Piper puts it bluntly, “Go, Send or Disobey.”

Hospitality can be a forgotten value in our Christian life even though it is all over the Old and New Testaments. In Leviticus, God commands, “A foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” Hospitality in Greek literally means “love of strangers.” [1] New Testament authors implore Christians to show “love for strangers” (Look at Romans 12:13, 1 Timothy 5:10, Hebrews 13:2,  and 1 Peter 4:9).

How are you investing in God’s kingdom cause? How are you partnering with God in His redemptive plan to save the world?

Nathan Harley


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible