Read 3 John 1:5-12
Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.
(3 John 1:5-8)
In the church’s early days, traveling prophets, evangelists, and teachers were helped on their way by people like Gaius who housed and fed them. Since there were no hotels and not many inns, hospitality was crucial to the itinerant preacher.
The traveling missionaries neither asked for nor accepted anything from nonbelievers. This was not intended to be a criticism of unbelievers, but a statement of how things ought to be. Imagine the awkwardness of a Christian worker who was requesting funds or lodging from the very people he or she was trying to reach! Instead, it was the responsibility of churches and Christian individuals to support those who were called by God to full-time vocational ministry. In that way, unbelievers will not be questioning the missionaries’ motives for preaching.
Hospitality is a strong sign of support for people and their work. It means giving of your resources to them so their stay will be comfortable and their work and travel easier. When you help someone who is spreading the gospel, you are in a very real way a partner in the ministry.
Because of our individualistic, self-centered society, there are many lonely people who wonder if anyone cares about them. Some of these individuals are missionaries far from home. They long for someone to be gracious to them. Yet some of us fear reaching out to people we don’t know or don’t know well out of fear of danger befalling us. Or, we fear that we’ll be judged by the state of our homes. God doesn’t want us to live in fear, but instead to open our hearts and homes to those who could benefit from our hospitality. Actively look for creative ways to show hospitality to God’s workers. It may be in the form of a letter of encouragement, a gift, financial support, an open home, or prayer.
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