Summary: THE FINAL IN THE SERIES: Your Home of Shared Taste: A Regular Mystery Time for You & Your Friends. here are five challenges for you to consider as you seek to obey God’s word of pursuing hospitality.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Your Home of Shared Taste
A Regular Mystery Time for You & Your Friends
Five Challenges of Hospitality
Mysteries. I love a good mystery! I enjoy a good “who done it?” story. I like watching stories like that, I enjoy telling my kids stories like that and when I get a, “What’s going to happen next, Daddy?” from them…I know I’m doing a good job.
I also enjoy meeting people and getting to know them. Now, I’ve been burnt in relationships, and have had some not so good surprises along the way, have ended up eating crow a few times and found myself even needing to let go of the proverbial ‘tiger by the tail’; but there really is nothing like the thrill of getting to meet and then know new people!
Paul tells his Roman friends in Christ to ‘be eager to show hospitality’. To literally [diōkō] run after, pursue, and track down this specific disciple characteristic. The one of a hospitality, of being a friend-host!
The Greek word is Xenos, say that… and it refers to one being foreign, appearing strange, alien, one who creates distaste = guest! It describes one that you are w/o knowledge of, new to, haven’t really heard of before.
Paul instructs Philemon to ‘prepare hospitality for me’ when he sends Onesimus back home to him (v22). Some translations have, “make ready a room for me” when I come visit.
Peter also speaks of xenos when he tells Christ-followers to ‘be hospitable to one another without complaining’ [1 Pet 4.9] = without GUNGGOOSMOS = w/o murmuring, muttering, or secretive debating.
That reminds me of the story of a young couple who invited their pastor over for Sunday dinner. While they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their son what they were having. “Goat,” the little boy replied. “Goat?” remarked the startled man of the cloth. “Are you sure about that?” “Yep,” said the youngster, “I heard dad say to mom, “Today is as good as any to have the old goat for dinner.”
Paul says in his 1st letter to Timothy [3:2] a leader in the church (overseer) must be …respectable, hospitable, able to teach…
Paul repeats this command to Titus [1:8], “a church leader/overseer, must not be arrogant or greedy for gain, but be hospitable…”
Hospitality was not a strange event in the early church; in fact it was expected and encouraged.
I. The Strangeness of Hospitality.
But xenos does have a beginning in the strange. Let’s pretend. Once upon a time two strangers met, and you’re one of them. How does it feel for you to meet a stranger? As you both enter each other’s presence, can you feel the tension? Each of you perceive the other as being on the outside—strange, hard to understand, unsettling, even sinister. The environment is like that too—different, disturbing, even threatening. Fear is the common mood. This is what is meant by xenos.
In all people groups, the word for enemy and stranger is the same. And in some cultures, the best way to deal with the sinister feeling was to kill the stranger. He is an outlaw! Dispose of the unknown threat! It’s like with bugs or foreign pests in the home—we may not know what it is therefore we don’t want it around!
Back when East Berlin was communist-controlled and West Berlin was free, some people in East Berlin one day took a truckload of garbage and dumped it on the West Berlin side. Not very hospitable was it?
The people of West Berlin could have done the same thing. But instead they took a truckload of canned goods, bread, and milk … and neatly stacked it on the East Berlin side. On top of this stack they placed the sign: “EACH GIVES WHAT HE HAS.”
Eventually men found a new, better and surprising way to master the hostile alien—the way of friendship. Fear gave way to a nobler custom—that of hospitality! Now you and your stranger are seen as being on mutual footing. Empathy takes over—since you’ve known what it’s like to have been an alien in unknown territory—you grant the stranger the fellowship of your table and your protection, and instead of being an outlaw he has come under your responsible care according to your own laws and religion. You take upon yourself the obligation of host to your new guest which if the need arises may require you to put your life on the line.
Xenos then came to mean the “friend” who associates with another in the beautiful act of hospitality. Being hospitable overcomes the distance of strangeness and the tension of being a foreigner. The two of you can now enjoy each others company equally; the guest is both grateful and feels ready to repay the host for his hospitality. The whole relation now rests on mutual trust instead of fear.