Sermons

Summary: A leader is not content just to be a Christian. He wants to be a good Christian, and the best Christian he can be. They put forth effort in order to grow. They are ever reaching up to find better ways to apply God's Word in their lives.

Late one night in Philadelphia and elderly couple came into a

little third class motel. The husband said to the night clerk, "Please

don't tell us you don't have a room. My wife and I have been all

over the city looking for a place to stay. We didn't know about the

big conventions that have filled the motels. We are dead tired and

its after midnight. Please don't tell us you have no place for us to

sleep." The clerk looked at them for a long moment and then said,

"The only room available is my own. I work at night and sleep in

the daytime. It's not as nice as the other rooms but its clean. I'll be

happy to let you use it for the night." The wife said, "God bless you

young man."

The next morning they invited the clerk to breakfast and they

said, you are too fine a hotel man to be in a place like this. How

would you like to be the manager of a large luxurious hotel?" The

clerk was suspicious about them, but he did stammer out, "It sounds

wonderful." They said they would contact him, and believe it or

not, the man became the best known hotel man in the world. That

couple were the Astors, and they went and built the famous

Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. It had 1900 rooms, and

this young man who shared his room for one night of hospitality was

made the manager. He had not entertained angels unaware, but he

had entertained a millionaire. And he was rewarded beyond his

wildest dreams.

Paul does not say that Christian leaders will all be rewarded

with great jobs if they show hospitality, but he does make this a

requirement just to be a positive Christian leader. We think of

hospitality more along the lines of having people over for a meal, or

of scheduling parties as a place for people to meet and fellowship.

This is a valid concept, but the experience of the young clerk is more

in keeping with the original idea of hospitality. The word comes

from hospital, and if you trace the word hospital, you discover that

it was first of all a place to shelter and entertain strangers. The first

hospitals were more life motels and hotels. People travelling needed

a place to stay in the old days as well as now, and where they stayed

was in the hospital.

This is directly related to the Greek word we are exploring for

hospitality. It is the word philoxenos, which means the love of

strangers. To be hospitable means to be open to care for the needs

of people you do not know. Paul is not saying a Christian leader is

one who must run his own motel, but he is saying that they must be

those who are willing to take people in and give food and shelter.

The idea is that a leader should set an example of Christlikeness in

being willing, as Jesus was, to share all he had to meet the needs of

others. Hospitality is part of the spirit of ministry. You have to give

of yourself to be hospitable. It takes time, effort, and money to care

about people. The Good Samaritan found a stranger in need and

gave of his time and money to put him up in a motel.

The original meaning is love of strangers, and so it is not the

same thing as having fellowship with other Christians at your home.

It has to do with your compassion for the people you don't even

know. Peter uses this same word in I Pet. 4:9 where he writes,

"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." Apparently

some Christians were doing the right thing, but with the wrong

spirit. They help their fellow Christians in their travel, but they did

not like it, and it was a burden.

The fact is, the only way to be a good Christian is to bear one

another's burdens. You just can't get by and be a good Christian if

you don't pay some sort of price in helping others along the road.

Sometimes we forget this and expect to sail along and not have to

bear other's burdens, but that is escapism, and it is not fitting for

someone who is a Christian leader. If every Christian is to be

hospitable, then the leader is one who is to be setting the pace and be

showing hospitality in a conspicuous way.

Hospitality to Christians can be a burden. The cost of food is

such that feeding people very often can be a major expense. But this

is usually enjoyable and you benefit from it on the spot. But Jesus

said in Luke 14 that we are not to invite people you know to your

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