A trap we can fall into is thinking that hospitality has to be elaborate. Probably this is what puts many people off offering it at all. Because of the efforts of the celebrity chefs we start to feel that we can only offer someone a meal if it is of gourmet standard. But this is not biblical:
Proverbs 15:17 Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.
I enjoy elaborate food on occasion, but some of our best family meals are my wife’s home made soup and bread – simple, cheap and delicious. (If you are able to cook good, simple, healthy food it might be that one of the ways you are called to offer hospitality is by helping teach the less confident how they also can cook.)
Another trap of hospitality is that we tend to socialise only with our close friends. While it is important to stay close to our friends, it is also limiting if we never expand our circle of friendship. This becomes more important the older we get. It is easiest to make close friends while we are in our teens and twenties, and it becomes harder with age. Rather than simply not bothering, this means we should put extra effort into being hospitable as we grow older.
I also believe that there is special reward awaiting those who show hospitality to the most needy (see Matthew 25). Most of us are challenged by mingling with people who are “not like us”, but for all eternity we will be with people very different from ourselves. There is joy in this life in expanding and deepening community. By doing so we are practicing for heaven.
Escaping the Neighbours - [image: Escaping the Neighbours primary image] The prescience of Chesterton's *Heretics* is astonishing. Imagine writing this, a century before gap years ...
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