“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitability” (Romans 12: 9-13).
If you invite someone over to your house for dinner, you’ll probably ask them what they want to drink, what salad dressing they prefer, if they like parmesan cheese on their pizza—things of this nature. Why do you do this? Because you want to be hospitable—you want them to enjoy their meal and their time spent at your house. You’re hosting them.
Working for the kingdom is a lot like hosting someone in your home. God calls us to love genuinely, without reproach. We’re called to love everyone like family. They don’t have to do anything to be loved by God; therefore, our love is not determined by what they do for us first. Anyone we come in contact with is our guest—better yet, they are God’s guests that we are meant to host.
What does it mean to have a heart of hospitality? The Word says we are to “outdo one another in showing honor” and “be fervent in spirit.” When someone comes in our path, we are to be quick to care for them. To be fervent in spirit means to be enthusiastic and zealous. When someone spends time with you, they’ll feel the warmth of a fervent spirit.
If you grew up in a house with a fireplace, you probably spent some cool winter nights huddled around its glow. Or if you’ve ever had a bonfire outside, it’s so comforting to be near its warmth while everywhere else around you seems so cold.
This is what it should be like when those in need find their way to us. When there’s someone who needs help, we shouldn’t shy away from the work but be quick to lend a hand. When God tells us that a brother, a sister, or a stranger needs us, we should be saying, “Send them my way, Lord, I’ll keep the porch light on.” We are the sanctuaries in the wilderness.
Caring for others is challenging, but it’s worth the work. Invite them in. Let them stay a while. There are lost brothers and sisters out in the wilderness, strangers who have yet to know there’s a place set for them and a family waiting for them. Keep the home fires burning—help them find their way home.