Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 37 : Bring In the Poor | Day 258

Demonstrate Hospitality!

Many struggled to hold back the tears as they recalled the life of a great and Godly man. It was the memorial service for Severt Andrewson, an artist who for more than 20 years had painted beautiful pictures for Character Sketches1 and other IBLP publications. However, those who were closest to Severt did not remember him for his exceptional art talent but rather for his hospitality. One person shared this tribute: "Severt and his wife Ruth turned their home into a place where I could always come for counsel and encouragement!"

Hospitality is making room in our hearts and in our homes for guests and treating them like part of the family.

We can learn a valuable lesson about what hospitality is and what it is not in the account of Jesus visiting the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, recorded in Luke 10:38-42. Scripture states, "Martha received him [Jesus] into her house." Her younger sister Mary, however, received Him with her heart, because "she sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word." Martha's focus was on the busyness of her work. She "was encumbered about much serving." The Greek word for encumbered is perispao, which means "to drag all around, i.e. (fig.) to distract (with care)."

One signal that a host is encumbered with the distractions of serving is when a greater focus is placed on impressing and entertaining the guests than simply on enjoying their fellowship. While food and the atmosphere are important, the primary focus of hospitality should be the guests themselves.

A practical way to focus on your guests is to listen to what they have to share. Mary chose this "better part" of hospitality by sitting at Jesus's feet. Martha was distracted by her responsibilities and wanted to take Mary away from spending time with Jesus so that Mary could help with the details that she felt were most important. Jesus kindly said, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

We should also be alert to things that would not make our guests feel welcomed and honored and remove these distractions. Possibilities include a barking, drooling dog that must be yelled at and wrestled to a back room before the guest can safely enter; a blaring television that diminishes the potential for meaningful conversation; or unnecessary clutter that must be shuffled around for the guest to even be seated.

Hospitality is using that which God has given us to demonstrate His love for others.

Making a guest feel welcomed does not always require a lot of money. I still remember the warmth I felt as I pulled into the driveway of a family I was going to visit and saw homemade signs welcoming me as their guest. Special signs are just one of many creative ways we can demonstrate that a person is important to us. Let's become skilled in the art of making guests feel like part of the family by opening not only our homes but also our hearts to them.


1. The Character Sketches illustrated by Severt Andrewson are available for purchase at store.iblp.org.

“But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:13–14).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard