People with the gift of hospitality know how to make others feel welcome, comfortable, and special. They create beautiful gathering spaces. They plan, prepare, and serve delicious food. But most of all, they know how to make people feel welcome and loved.
Shortly after Timothy joined his missionary team, Paul received a vision of a man, begging him: “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (16:9). So, Paul took his team, and they went. Because Luke himself was on this trip, his detailed travel log is a firsthand account (v. 11). After a long journey across the Aegean Sea, they landed in the port of Neapolis and traveled ten miles inland to Philippi.
On the Sabbath, the team went to the river to find a place for prayer. The term “place of prayer” typically referred to a synagogue, but no synagogue had been established, since it required ten men. Instead, the women would gather at the river to pray.
One of the first converts was Lydia, a wealthy businesswoman and seller of purple cloth. Luke wrote of her conversion. “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message” (v. 14). While Paul faithfully shared the gospel, God was the true evangelist. Following Lydia’s lead, everyone in her household was baptized, perhaps even her employees. One person can influence a whole family! This happens multiple times in Acts—an entire household comes to Christ because of one initial conversion.
Lydia then invited Paul’s team to stay at her home. She saw his visit as confirmation of her faith. Paul often established a homebase when he went to a new town, and Lydia’s house became that, so much so that he returned there with Silas after they came out of prison (v. 40).
>> How can we become people known for hospitality? Perhaps it is by allowing people to stay in your home. Or maybe you can gift them with a meal. In what ways might God use your hospitality for the sake of the gospel?
Grant us the gift of hospitality! It is one thing to clean a house and prepare a meal, it is quite another to make each guest feel welcome and at home. Give us a godly interest in others and the gift to show them Your love.