"Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:13
- 1. friendly reception and treatment of guests.
- 2. the quality of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly and generous way.
The story of Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42 has something to say about hospitality.
In this instance, Jesus and His disciples were traveling when they came to the village of Bethany, where Martha opened her home to them.
Mary and Martha seemed like a pretty good team as far as hospitality went. Martha was the organizer and would make sure the work was done. Meals back then took planning and time in preparation. There was no running to the market for a can of beans and a loaf of bread when guests showed up.
Martha had a gift for acts of service, although sometimes she became overly focused on the work and forgot the reason. In this instance, Martha must have been focused on making the perfect meal for her guests and showed her stress level in her outburst in Luke10:40
"Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?"
Evidently, while Martha was hurrying around getting the dinner prepared, Mary was sitting at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said.
Mary was the part of the team who could make a guest feel welcome. She would focus her attention completely on the person until she might forget some of the physical needs of the gathering.
Martha received a gentle rebuke from Jesus, telling her that she was worried and upset over too many things. It’s possible that she was trying to prepare a feast when only a sandwich was needed.
I have heard that ‘entertaining’ focuses on the host. - The perfect meal, lovely home, charming personality.
and ‘hospitality’ focuses on the guest. - Nourishing food, friendship, a listening ear, a place to stay.
Without Martha, there might not be any tea made for guests and the roast might burn. Without Mary, there might be a perfectly prepared feast without the free-flowing conversation of loving friendship.
Martha and Mary - the world needs them both. We are the body of Christ, each with our own God designed gifts. Working together in harmony is the plan and the challenge.
1 Corinthians 12:18 "God has arranged the parts of the body just as He wanted them to be."
1 Corinthians 12:26 "If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."
For another thought about Mary and Martha read: Mary and Martha - The Better Thing.