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Stewardship of Hospitality

"The Lord appeared to Abraham ... as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men. He ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, "My lord, I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves." (Genesis 18:1-5)

This passage from Genesis is a perfect teaching for families during these months of summer vacation.

Those of us living in particularly hot climates truly understand the "heat of the day." The climate is similar to the heat of the day in Abraham's time. Even in the northern climates, the humidity and heat can be uncomfortable. As families, we look at the summer as a time of less rigid schedules and vacations. Abraham was the head of his household. It was not his usual role to run out in the heat to greet visitors. Summertime is also a period when we expect to see vacationers, extended families, and other guests coming to our houses or our churches. Are we going to run out and meet them?

Encourage the children to practice the stewardship of hospitality this summer. Remind them to be as friendly as Abraham. How can children practice the stewardship of hospitality?

Invite a neighborhood friend to go to Sunday school class. Plan a Saturday night sleepover and attend the worship service as part of your Sunday morning activities. Organize a group of friends (especially boys and girls who do not currently attend a church regularly) to sign-up for vacation Bible school.

The whole family can be involved in teaching summer Sunday school. You will grow closer as a family if you volunteer to teach a class. Assign each family member to help with a section of the Sunday school lesson. Be sure to bring a treat for the class as a gesture of extending Christian hospitality.

If you are on vacation, go to a local church so that you can experience the hospitality of others. Share one particularly meaningful aspect of the worship experience with your own pastor or children's ministry coordinator.

Invite some of your Sunday school friends and their families to your home or the park for a Sunday picnic.

In contrast to what most of us have been taught, stewardship is about more than money! Stewardship is a key aspect of Christian discipleship. Christian stewardship recognizes that everything is a blessing from God. We are called to share some of those blessings with others. One of the greatest gifts that we each possess is the ability to extend love and care to others. Practicing the stewardship of Christian hospitality will remind others of the numerous blessings in their own lives.

Prayer

Lord, help us to practice Christian hospitality. Help us to be like Abraham, even in the heat of the summer. Thank you for the many blessings in our own lives. Help us to share these gifts with friends, neighbors, and our church community in a spirit of faithful stewardship. Amen.

Questions for Reflection

  • What do you like to do during the "heat of the day?"
  • If you were Abraham, would you have met the three people? If so, what would you have taken to them?
  • How does it feel to be hospitable to others?
  • Describe a time when someone offered Christian hospitality to you. How did you feel?

Ruth M. Blum is an ordained United Methodist Deacon who serves as Associate Pastor of Children and Families at Dove of the Desert United Methodist Church in Glendale, Arizona.

Posted in2005.

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