1 Timothy 3:2
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Being given to hospitality is so often misused. The word hospitality means being friendly, welcoming, warm reception, helpful, and kind. In other words, hospitality means to be friendly and warm to everyone. The preacher is not to be a grump; he is to be friendly. The preacher is not to hide in the office but to be friendly to those who visit the church.
Moreover, the word hospitality comes from the word “hospital.” In other words, when a person is given to hospitality, they are given to being kind and friendly to those who have been hurt by sin. I often say that our churches ought to be hospitals and not museums. If a church is doing what it is supposed to do in reaching the lost, it will be like an emergency room that is caring for those who have been hurt and mangled by sin. It is critical for the preacher and the people to be given to hospitality so those who have fallen in sin will feel welcomed back to the church.
Now, there is one other word we must consider. The word given means apt or in the habit of doing something. In other words, when a person is given to hospitality, they are in the habit of helping and being friendly to those who have fallen in sin. Instead of casting them aside never to be used again, God wants his representatives to be given to hospitality so that the fallen will come back and feel welcome.
Let me illustrate by using the Scriptures. The story of the prodigal son has two different receptions to the prodigal coming home. The father of the prodigal received him back despite how much the prodigal hurt the father. The prodigal’s brother refused to talk to his brother even though his brother had come back with a right spirit and was asking for forgiveness. The father in this parable was given to hospitality; whereas, the brother was not hospitable but unfriendly, judgmental, and hateful.
My friend, God knows that in the Christian walk there will be many who are hurt by sin as they serve the LORD. Our responsibility as God’s representatives are to be given to hospitality and receive them back with friendliness, kindness, with a warm heart, and being helpful to get them back on their spiritual feet. When someone falls in sin, they often feel like the church would never want them back. Every church should be given to hospitality so that the fallen always feel that they can come to a place that will receive them despite the hurt they have caused to God’s name and His church.
Moreover, we ought to be given to hospitality to those who visit our church. In other words, we ought to be friendly, giving visitors a warm reception, and be helpful to those who visit our churches. This does not mean we should take them to our home for a meal; in today’s world, you might be very careful about this; however, we can always be given to hospitality to every bus rider, the homeless, and those who are returning after they destroyed their life in sin.
Are you given to hospitality, or are you given to unfriendliness? We will help more people and see more people saved by being given to hospitality. If people feel welcome when they first come into our church, we have a better chance of them coming back a second time and eventually becoming fruit that remains.