Hospitality—A Mark of True Christianity
1 All of us want to be hospitable, which really amounts to being cordial and generous in the receiving and entertaining of guests and strangers. Those who seek to qualify for appointment as elders should especially display this marvelous quality, which does so much to build warmth and togetherness in the congregation. (1 Tim. 3:1, 2; Titus 1:7, 8) However, each one of us should welcome strangers to the Christian meetings, showing equal interest in the lowly and in those well-to-do.—Rom. 12:13; Jas. 2:1-4, 9.
2 What are some of the ways in which we can show hospitality? Since hospitality carries the thought of being “fond of strangers” (Kingdom Interlinear), this should surely show up in the Kingdom Hall. Not only adults, but younger ones can introduce themselves to newcomers and welcome them. Do you go out of your way to greet people? Do you learn their names? This is especially necessary if we are conducting a meeting. Incidentally, whether you have official responsibilities in the congregation or not, when was the last time you invited someone to share the hospitality of your home? Many new ones have been cut off by their former friends and families because of the truth. Surely this vacuum needs to be filled. They need to be welcomed warmly into our homes and hearts, thus making new friends and new family relationships.—Luke 18:29, 30; Jas. 2:14-16.
3 Displaying hospitality to everyone in the congregation is a big job, but if we spend a few minutes individually talking to even one person each week, we will soon begin to get acquainted with our brothers and all of us will benefit from this hospitable interchange. If you are embarrassed because have forgotten a person’s name, do not hesitate to inquire again. Sooner or later all of us will know one another’s name, and this is the way it should be, as in any family. In one congregation near Bethel, a newly interested person was brought to a meeting for the first time. One of the things that impressed her the most was that the conductor knew everybody by name, even little children. What a warm, family-like spirit this helped to generate!
4 Of course, hospitality is a two-way street. Not only should those already in the congregation show hospitality toward the new ones, but perhaps those of you who are new in the truth could take the initiative to invite some to your home from time to time. Elaborate preparations are not required, but conversation on spiritual matters will be upbuilding. (Luke 10:38-42; compare Acts 16:15.) How vital hospitality is when we remember that only if we cultivate and maintain the spirit of love that prompts genuine expressions of hospitality can we gain God’s approval. This is so because love is the very foundation of true worship. Christ said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”—John 13:35.
5 Clearly, warm, generous, openhearted hospitality based on a deep love for Jehovah and our fellow humans is a mark of true Christianity. Even if we have little, we are not deprived of showing the spirit of hospitality—genuine concern for others’ welfare.