"A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work." 1 Tim. 5:9 & 10.
I would say that is something for all christian women to strive for (realizing that some will not get married or have children however). Here are some other neat verses about showing hospitality to strangers:
" I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me." Matthew 25:35
"Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers." Romans 12:13
"Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:1
So, just how do we go about showing hospitality to strangers? Sometimes that doesn't seem all the easy. There are times when people are hesitant to come when you invite them. So don't get discouraged and don't stress over it but be ready when opportunities come.
Here are some ideas for ways that you can show hospitality to strangers:
- Host an exchange student. This was something that we really enjoyed doing when I was a child/teen. We were involved with a program that arranged for kids from other countries to come to your house for 1 month in the summer. We made new friends that way, learned about other cultures and were able to share our faith as well. I would really love to do that now that I have teenagers too.
- Host a neighborhood party.
- If somebody new visits church invite them over to your house for lunch afterwards.
- When somebody comes to your church asking for help think about offering them a place to stay for a while. I will admit that this one takes a step of faith many times. I remember my parents doing this now and then and my sister has done it as well. Sometimes it isn't the most fun but it can be a blessing and then again we don't just do things in life simply because they are "fun".
- Invite a new neighbor over so that you can get acquainted.
- Find ways to befriend lonely college students (possibly especially international students).
- Host a party (such as a game night) and let people know that they are welcome to bring others with them. This can be a neat outreach opportunity.
- Invite a co-worker and their family over for a meal.
- Do foster care.
- Be the sort of people that others feel comfortable asking if somebody they know can stay with you. I can think of several of these situations with people I know- My sister and her family have housed various people, one being a man that was a friend of a friend and was going to be in their city fairly often for work and would need a place to stay. He stayed at their house on a pretty regular basis for a year or so. Other friends live near Mayo clinic and people will often ask them if so and so could stay with them as they visit there. What a neat way to minister to others!
- If you know there will be a need for places for out of town people to have a place to stay offer your home. This is something we do when we have church retreats. It is something you could also do if a friend is getting married or if their is a funeral in the family and they will have a lot of people come in from out of town you could offer to host some of them at your place (we have been blessed with this in the past). Another instance that we have used this idea was with political candidates and people that travel with them. Several times people have been in our town to attend political events that we were involved with and to help them save some money we have offered to have them stay at our house. Sometimes we have met them before but not always. We have had candidates (and one's family) stay with us, staff members for the candidates and other political activists. It has been always a fun opportunity to get to know someone.
I would love to hear any ideas that you have for showing hospitality to strangers. I would also love to hear any stories that you care to share!