Hospitality is another hallmark of the Christian character, an extension of sincere love. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality (Romans 12:9-13 NKJV). Hospitality is often described as kindness to strangers. This is certainly true, but the practice of hospitality extends beyond kindness to those with whom we do not have an acquaintance. It is equally important to practice hospitality with our brethren. Hospitality and the word hospital share an old Latin root which means “to host.” Hospitality is the hosting of friends and strangers alike, while a hospital is host to the sick or injured.
Shepherds in particular are to be hospitable. Paul described their character to Timothy. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; (1 Timothy 3:2 NKJV). Titus, likewise, would recognize those qualified to serve. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, (Titus 1:7-8 NKJV).
Widows who are not hospitable forfeit their right to be cared for by the church. Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work (1 Timothy 5:9-10 NKJV).
Extending hospitality to brethren and to strangers is necessary considering that time continues to march toward the last day. But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:7-9 NKJV). Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels (Hebrews 13:1-2 NKJV). The inhospitable will face judgment with no evidence of a loving heart. “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:44-46 NKJV).