We have many friends from around the world. Most of them have stayed with us at one time or another. some did not start as friends, but after opening our home to them, they became friends. Some stayed for a night others for weeks. Each one added to our lives, and with each one, we loved as Jesus loved. Paul challenge us to always have this heart
"....always be eager to practice hospitality." Romans 12:13
Paul is continuing to instruct us in what it means to act like a Christian. During the first century, many who came to Christ had to flee persecution, others lost them homes due to persecution. The Lord was using this persecution to spread the Gospel all over the known world. It was not His doing, but He used it for His purposes.
Because of this persecution, the early church had to develop an "open home" policy. They were always open to feed and shelter any at any time. This mindset was so important that Paul said it was a requirement for any who desired to be leaders in the church (1 Timothy 3:2)
The word "hospitality." means to love a stranger or foreigner like a brother. Paul is instructing Christians to be willing to love and care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially the ones who are outside of our circle of friends. We are to always be generous with our time, energy, and finances to be careful to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are genuinely in need. Please don't be deceived, there are "users" in the church, people who seem to always be in need because they have not learned how to handle their finances. They expect everyone else to care for their folly. Paul spoke of them in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 telling us if someone is not willing to contribute to the good of the body, especially their own family, they should not be given help from the church.
However, as Christians, Paul says we need to be "eager" with our hospitality. This means we must be aggressive about and always ready to love and care for our brothers and sisters who are not in our circle of friends and those from totally different cultures but are part of the Body of Christ.
I am so grateful for people like my friend Ed Wethli who made sure many of our brothers and sisters from Syria, who had lost their homes due to war and terrorism in that nation, are now starting a new life in Canada. It was a privilege for Paige and me to take in so many from around the world who were visiting, to encourage, care for a supply for the needs of many. It is a joy to be hospitable. Pray and open your heart to what the Lord might want to do through you.