The Fall season is upon us and before you know it the holidays will be here. One of the lovely things about this season is that we have plenty of opportunities to show hospitality to strangers without it necessarily seeming awkward or out of place. Hospitality is basically the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
Our culture is all about building a perception of perfection. We want to build an image that makes us look smarter, wealthier, and more talented than we actually are. Spotless floors and perfect meals can be used to gain glory and praise for ourselves.
However, as Christians, we aren’t called to boast in perfection about anything. God commands us to be hospitable towards others and give Him glory by doing so. Hospitality does not have to be elaborate. It can look like a simple cup of tea or coffee and some store-bought desserts. It’s simply about opening up our lives and our hearts to pour out Christ-like love towards others. And Halloween is the perfect time to show hospitality to others.
No, this does not mean we have to invite every single person we meet into our homes, that could quickly get overwhelming. But it does mean we should be intentional about being hospitable to the people we meet. It does mean inviting people in even if it isn’t necessarily convenient for us. Ask yourself, when was the last time you had someone over specifically to show them or focus on being hospitable? Here are 6 ways we can practice Biblical hospitality to strangers on Halloween.
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Biblical Definition of Hospitality
The biblical definition is showing love to strangers and guests. (AV1611) In other words, the willingness to invite people into our homes or apartments who don’t ordinarily belong there. It doesn’t mean having the perfect home, luxurious furniture, an exquisite meal or the hand-crafted decorations. It is concerned with loving others, putting them first, getting to know them and serving them well.
Our purpose is to serve and build up the body of Christ. Hospitality means that we seek to love and build others up by serving them. God supplies us with the strength and willpower to be hospitable towards others. In showing hospitality to strangers and serving others, we bring glory to God.
Ultimately, we are called to show hospitality (or love) to others because that is what God showed us while we were strangers. While we were yet sinners, God opened his home to us through His Son Jesus Christ, who died that we might be redeemed into God’s family. God opened His home and we by no means deserved it! The best part: His love and grace don’t stop there, He continually invites us in. Therefore, it is only fitting that we should reflect this love and grace as we interact and show hospitality to others.
Bible Verses about Hospitality
The Bible is clear that the practice of hospitality is an important part of being Christian. The Bible encourages us to practice hospitality throughout the Old and New Testament. The basis of hospitality towards others is the gospel itself.
By serving others and showing hospitality to strangers, we become part of the Great Commission to share the good news of the Gospel. It shouldn’t be a once a year, seasonal thing – hospitality should be a standard attitude and practice. Read these bible verses about showing hospitality to others.
Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this, some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 CSB
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and not to ignore your own flesh and blood?” Isaiah 58:7
and is well known for good works—that is, if she has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints’ feet, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to every good work.” 1 Timothy 5:10
For an overseer, as God’s administrator, must be blameless, not arrogant, not hot-tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled,” Titus 1:7-8
The one who welcomes you welcomes Me, and the one who welcomes Me welcomes Him who sent Me.” Matthew 10:40
Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining.” 1 Peter 4:8-9
He took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds. Right away he and all his family were baptized. He brought them into his house, set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had believed God with his entire household.” Acts 16:33-34
When a foreigner lives with you in your land, you must not oppress him. You must regard the foreigner who lives with you as the native-born among you. You are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am Yahweh your God.” Leviticus 19:33-34
He also said to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers, your relatives, or your rich neighbors, because they might invite you back, and you would be repaid. On the contrary, when you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind.” Luke 14:12-13
Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality.” Romans 12:13
As we can see in these bible verses about hospitality, Jesus welcomed all sorts of people in all sorts of settings. He always made it a point to extend a loving hand to those who needed it. He showed kindness, compassion, and hospitality towards strangers. He invited them in. As Christians, we are called to respond in the same He did.
How To Practice Biblical Hospitality on Halloween
Showing hospitality is not something we just do on our own free time or when it is convenient for us. We are called to show hospitality with others without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9). We are called to be hospitable no matter what our circumstances are at the current moment (1 Kings 17:7-16). The truly humble person gives without hope of reciprocation. We are called to care for our neighbors out of love and to give no thought to self-interest.
It means thinking creatively how you can make a difference in another person’s life by lifting even the smallest of burdens. We should be constantly thinking about who we can serve. Because hospitality allows us to show Christ-like love and give a glimpse of hope in a broken world.
Halloween offers so many wonderful opportunities to open up our homes and hearts to show others the light of Jesus to those who may not know Him.
Be Hospitable Towards Strangers on Halloween
Ask God to give you a cheerful heart as you practice hospitality. This Halloween, we all have in front us a wide-open door to spreading the Gospel message. I want to encourage you not to miss out on this opportunity. Here are some ways to be a good steward of God’s love and kindness by being hospitable towards strangers:
Hospitality means being readily available to enjoy a meal together or prepare a meal for people you may not know. As we all know, kids will need more than just candy to survive Halloween. This doesn’t have to be an elaborate meal, it can be as simple as ordering pizza and sharing it with the families that are coming by your house. Also, think of the parents by offering hot apple cider or pumpkin bread or muffins. Make your entryway inviting so they will be encouraged to come to your door and possibly hang out for a while.
This step is crucial. The whole goal of trick-or-treating is to get the best candy. You can also pair the candy with information about your church or any sort of inspirational toy or favor. If you share the good candy, you will have an opportunity to engage with even more people.
3. Host A Halloween-Themed Neighborhood Party
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we invited people into our homes, including unbelievers, and by the simple act of showing them love and care, we can, in fact, show them, Jesus Christ?
Holding a Halloween-themed neighborhood party is a great way to engage the local community. Invite people from your community into your home for a Halloween-themed bbq or game night. If you have the resources or the backyard, you can set up a screening of a classic Halloween movie (Hocus Pocus is my favorite!). It takes a little bit of work but is so much fun. It also allows you to spend intentional time with others, have some fun and learn how you can love your neighbors well.
4. Offer a place to rest
Don’t hide inside all night. Set up a place on your front lawn or in your driveway for the kids and parents to come and rest. Put out some chairs and bottles of water for the parents who may need a short break before they continue on their walking journey. Be hospitable by engaging in conversation, asking their names and where they live in the neighborhood.
5. Engage in Conversation
Take some time out of your night to simply smile and acknowledge others exist. Try to learn their stories. Pay attention to their hearts and look for opportunities to serve them later. You never know what someone is going through and this simple act of kindness might just change their day or even their lives. Even the smallest act of kindness can open your heart to the gift of hospitality.
6. Attend Neighborhood/Community Events
If your neighborhood or community already hosts Halloween parties, don’t reinvent the wheel. Offer to help set up, bring food or serve at the event. Go and join in on the fun! Invite your neighbors to go with you by leaving invites on your porch. By attending community events, you will be able to meet more people and learn how you can practice hospitality for them in the future.
Let Your Hospitality Flow on Halloween!
Ultimately, Jesus calls us to follow His way of life. When we were yet sinners, we experienced the unspeakable privileges of His hospitality. Jesus brought us back into God’s family. Therefore, as a Christian, you should follow His example of hospitality – counter-cultural, joyous, authentic, generous, and open-hearted. Hospitality happens as an overflow of your love for God. So let your hospitality to strangers be an overflowing abundance of love towards others.
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