Friday, February 15, 2013

Is Hospitality Really a Requirement for Spiritual Leaders?

-- Doug Nichols

Yes, it is, but the lack of it is helpful in learning humility and in not taking yourself too seriously, realizing that we are simply sinners deserving nothing but saved by grace and grace alone.

On one occasion in visiting another country in which we were beginning gospel ministry among the poor, street children and needy pastors, I had an appointment in the parsonage with a well-known pastor, church leader and conference speaker who traveled from his country often to speak in conferences in the US, Canada, and the UK.

I was made to wait quite awhile and was finally ushered into the living room instead of his office as it was his break time (tea time). He was served his toast, jam, cheese, boiled eggs, and tea while I watched and waited. This was in a country known for its gracious hospitality.

It was very apparent that I was not to speak until he finished and he took his time! There was no hospitality, no offer of refreshments or tea, I was simply to watch and wait as I was put in my place as non-important; I would be attended to if and when he was ready.

I hate to admit it, but I was very embarrassed not only for me, but also for him, this great leader whose writings I had read and appreciated but now he did not seem so great "spiritually" anymore.

I was a speaker at a major conference with a mission leader and author. As our driver spoke to him often, there was no response, no thankfulness or friendliness at all. The conference volunteer driver told me he was made to feel very insignificant, and he tried to not let it bother him. He said to me, "He is a big shot here at the conference, but he doesn't even seem to have the common courtesy of a Christian!"

Hospitality is making others feel comfortable especially in your presence. To wait on them, to serve them, to care for them, and to simply be kind and friendly with them. Is it important for leaders? The Word of God says in 1Timothy 3:2, "The overseer (pastor, church leader, missionary and ministry leader)...MUST be...hospitable..."

"But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them...and saves them, because they take refuge in Him." (Psalm 37:39-40)

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