Lessons from around Dinner Tables

I’m usually confused when I see hospitality listed as one of the spiritual gifts. The others seem more tied to spirituality and ministry. The gifts of discernment, encouragement, and leadership are so obviously linked with the Holy Spirit and the daily Christian walk that the gift of hospitality, for me, seems only distantly related.

The idea of outstanding hospitality in our global culture is so foreign that I have stopped expecting it from others and even stopped focusing on it myself. It was only on a short trip to Ireland that I learned hospitality means something more than simply maintaining a house.

Over the course of a week while studying abroad, 2 friends and I took a road trip through the Irish countryside and then ended up in Dublin for a few days. Overall, the Irish people were welcoming and kind enough, but we were not expecting the hospitality we received.

After a long drive to Galway, we met with our hostess, who had been waiting on us in her lawn chair outside of her house. She gave us a tour of the house and showed us the breakfast spread she had laid for us, including homemade Irish soda bread. During the next few days, our hostess continued to show hospitality in everything she did. From baking us scones to letting us interact with her and her family, there was something different about the level of hospitality she showed. Before we left, we had a conversation about God and found out that the source of her hospitality came from her long-standing relationship with Him. We left her home in peace and feeling fulfilled.

On Sunday, we went to the church of some of our missionary friends serving in Dublin. We had already been welcomed into their home, and we found the body of Christ at their church had a particular gift for hospitality. After church, we went to eat with fellow believers and even made new Irish friends. It was bizarre to feel so at home halfway across the world with strangers, but that is the power of Christian hospitality.

Again and again in God’s Word, Christians are commanded to show hospitality, often to 2 specific types of people: the poor stranger and the brother or sister in Christ. There is something distinct about God’s hospitality that draws in all people and shows them this side of God’s character.

While we need those with the gift of teaching to lead us in learning and those with the gift of administration to keep us on task, those with the gift of hospitality are the people who make the body of Christ feel like home in a way the rest of the world simply cannot explain or replicate. Jesus taught us that there is a lot to learn around the dinner table and that we should continue to commune with one another by allowing hospitality to flow from and to us.

Sydney Berry is a student at Samford University. She is currently living abroad with missions in mind. Her 3 favorite things are coffee, books, and cats.

Back to Top