Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Your Most Honored Guest

Leslie Basham: How much does hospitality matter to God? More than you may realize. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The Scripture teaches that when we offer hospitality to God’s people, we are actually offering hospitality to Jesus Himself.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, December 14.

Imagine hosting Jesus in your home. You’d treat Him with a lot of honor. Keep that in mind the next time a guest comes to your door. Jesus is right there too. When you treat a guest well, it’s like you’re serving Him too. We’ll hear more about that from Nancy, wrapping upa series called The Heart of Hospitality.

Nancy: The ministry of hospitality really is a two-way street. But you know, as I look back on my own experience of hospitality, growing up in a home that was very hospitable and now having a home of my own and seeking to extend hospitality to others, I realize that when we’re hospitable, we don’t just give a blessing to others, we get a blessing ourselves. I have experienced some wonderful blessings and rewards and benefits by extending hospitality to others.

As we go back to the Scripture, we find a number of illustrations about how people got benefits and blessings out of extending hospitality. I think, for example, in Exodus chapter 2 of how Jethro got a son-in-law for one of his daughters as a result of extending hospitality to Moses. He welcomed Moses into his home, and he ended up getting a son-in-law.

The same thing happened to Laban in chapter 24 of the book of Genesis, as he welcomed Abraham’s servant into his home and ended up finding a mate for his daughter. So you never know what kinds of blessings and benefits may come out of extending hospitality.

Then I think of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17) who ministered to Elijah out of her poverty when she had just enough left for one meal, and then she and her son were just planning to die because they had nothing to eat. But she extended hospitality, invited the prophet into her home, fed him, ministered to his needs before her own. As a result God did a miracle and expanded, extended, the little supply that she had. For all the years of that famine, that oil never ran out. There was always food; there was always plenty for her to eat.

Rahab, the harlot in Jericho, extended hospitality to the spies from the land of Israel. As a result her life was spared when the city of Jericho fell (see Josh. 2:6).

Then there’s the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4 who ministered to the prophet Elisha. She invited him to come in to eat.

When she realized he went through that town quite often, she said to her husband, “This is a holy man of God. Could we build a little guest room for him?” And they did. They extended hospitality. They gave food and lodging to the prophet of God. Whenever he went through that area, he would stay in that home.

Well, the day came when the prophet said, “What can I do for you?” She said, “I don’t need anything. I have everything I need.” But Elisha realized that this was a woman who had never had a child, and he must have known that she wanted to have a child.

He prayed for her, and God gave this hospitable woman a child. I believe it was the fruit, the blessing, at least in part, of her having extended hospitality to the man of God.

Now, there are other kinds of blessings and benefits that we reap. You may not get a son-in-law for one of your daughters, but there are practical blessings that hospitality brings into our lives.

I think, for example, of those of you who have children. As your children are growing up, you are teaching them in a practical way how to love and serve others. You’re teaching that giving is a way of life. It’s not just something you do in the offering plate on Sunday morning.

It deals with selfishness. You may not need to deal with selfishness, but I guarantee your children do; and you want to know, “How can I help them not be so selfish?” Well, when your children maybe have to give up a room in order to have an overnight guest, or when they have to take extra time with you to help prepare for guests, they’re learning that life is “not about me.” This home is not just for our blessing. It is that, but it’s also a calling for us as a family to serve God together.

This is an incredible opportunity for your family to minister together. It’s a great chance for your children to get exposed to adult conversation, to grow up hearing adults talking about the things of the Lord.

I think so much family life today centers around children in ways that are not necessarily healthy. Now, it’s not that children aren’t important, and I would not say that “children should be seen and not heard.”

Neither should children have the feeling that life centers around them. They will be blessed if they can hear, as I did in my home growing up, adults talking about the ways of God and the heart of God and life, and just so many things I learned sitting at meal tables with our family and with guests who’d been invited to be a part of that meal.

Some of the benefits and blessings of hospitality we won’t experience in this life. Some of them we won’t experience until eternity. When we show hospitality to those who cannot pay us back, Jesus says in Luke 14:14, “You [will] be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” So some of our benefit and blessing is coming later.

Proverbs 11:25 says, “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.” You can’t out-give God. The more you give, the more your family gives, the more blessing you’ll receive.

Hebrews chapter 13 talks about one blessing that some experienced as a result of hospitality. Hebrews says, “Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have [unknowingly] entertained angels” (vv. 1-2).

You can think back to some of those stories in Scripture—Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18, where three visitors came. As it turned out, one was the Lord, and two were angels. The story of Lot in Genesis 19; and Gideon's parents. They showed hospitality, and it turned out they were entertaining an angel (Judg. 13). So there are instances of this in the Scripture.

I don’t know if I’ve ever had an angel in my home as a guest; not that I know of, but I do think what this means is that hospitality often results in unexpected rewards and blessings, and that many times the person you thought you were going to bless, who was your guest, that guest often ends up blessing you as the host. I’ve had that happen so many times in my home.

The Scripture teaches that when we offer hospitality to God’s people, we are actually offering hospitality to Jesus Himself. You remember that passage in Matthew 25; in the context Jesus is saying something additional in this passage, but I do think there’s an application here. In Matthew 25:34-40 Jesus said,

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in. . . . Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”

So when I bless company in my home, when I extend the hospitable heart of God to them, they become a blessing to me. It’s as if, when I open my home to my Christian brothers and sisters, even the least of them, to give food and drink and clothing and lodging, just in simple, practical ways; what I’m really doing is inviting Jesus Christ into my home, and I’m ministering to Him. I’m serving Him. I’m giving to Him. And that is one of the greatest blessings.

One of the greatest rewards of hospitality is to know that in serving you as my guest, I’ve also had the privilege of serving the Lord Jesus; and the Scripture says, that which we have given He will repay.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has given us some important things to think about when we’re serving guests. We’re really serving our Savior at the same time. Nancy will be right back with the second half of today’s message.

Before she wraps up this series called The Heart of Hospitality, let me say that you can order a copy on CD when you visit ReviveOurHearts.com. This is a really helpful message to hear right before the holidays. When you order the CD, you can pull out the series and review it a year from now as you launch into the holiday season.

Again, you can order at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1-800-569-5959.

Now, maybe as you’ve listened to today’s message, you don’t feel like your home is ready for guests. You don’t even know what’s for dinner tonight, let alone being able to think about inviting someone else over. Hospitality seems like a nice idea, but not very realistic. Let’s join Nancy again with help for anyone in that situation.

Nancy: I just want to close this series by saying, “How do I get started?” The simplest thing to say is, “Just do it.” Just say, “Lord, who could I have into my home that I can minister to in some way?” Ask God to show you an opportunity for starters.

I was talking with a couple of people the other day who have really hospitable hearts, and we were talking about people who enjoy this and have practiced it, know what a blessing it is. But for people who are not accustomed to opening their home, it makes them a little nervous and uncomfortable to think about getting started.

One of my friends said, “If people would just do it once, they would realize what a blessing it is.” Now, when I say it’s a blessing, that doesn’t mean it’s without challenges. I’ve had some headaches after people left my house, sometimes just because I was so tired or it had not always gone as smoothly as I would have liked.

But when I look at the big picture, I say, “This has been a great blessing.” And most often when I lock the door and turn off the lights after the last person has left, I say, “Thank You, Lord. Going into this it seemed like so much work and so much effort. But it was such a blessing.” So how do we get started in that?

First of all, let me suggest that you take time, if you’ve never done this, to dedicate your house to the Lord and ask Him to make it a home that’s used for Him. The house is just going to be brick, stones, mortar, wood, until you put it into the Lord’s hands and say, “Lord, would You transform this into something that will be an instrument of blessing and grace in the lives of other people?”

My home is not “my” home. It doesn’t belong to me. Ultimately, everything I have, including my house, belongs to the Lord. It’s His anyway. So when I dedicate it to Him, I’m just saying, “Lord, I’m consecrating to You what is already Yours, and I’m asking You to use this home.”

I had 1,600 people come through my house the first year after it was built. Now, you don’t have to have 1,600 people in your home to exercise the gift of hospitality. The Lord may only have you have sixteen people in your home in a year—or fewer. Just ask God what He wants you to do with your home, and be available to do that.

Then, discuss as a family how your home can be used for the kingdom of God. You’d be amazed that your husband and children will probably have some ideas and want to enter into this and feel like this is not just “Mom’s thing,” but this is our thing, together. So make it a matter of prayer and discussion as a family. How can we use our home to bless others, to further the kingdom of God?

I have some friends who are a home schooling family. One of the things they’ve decided to do recently is once a month have a hymn sing for other home schooling families who come into their home. The fathers take turns leading this time, basically just singing and sharing around the things of God. It’s simple; it doesn’t require huge preparation. But that’s one of the ways that they’re using their home to minister to others.

Pray for opportunities to minister to people in your home, and pray for God to give you wisdom and direction about which opportunities He wants you to take.

Then plan on your calendar a time to extend hospitality—maybe just one time for starters. Now, if you’ve got a family, don’t do this without your husband’s input and agreement, because you don’t want to pick a time that’s going to be a pressure for him. But say, as a family, when would be a good time we could open our home? 

Some of you may not feel the freedom to be really spontaneous just at first, and that’s okay. You’ll develop that as you do it. But plan. Put it on the calendar. Then, as you do it once, put another time on the calendar. Look for times that you can plan it on your calendar, because if you don’t plan it, it probably won’t happen if you’re not already in the habit of doing this.

You may want to let your church or your pastor know that your home is available for those who have a housing need. If someone comes through town and has need for a place to stay, you would be willing to do that. You may want to let them know that you need a little bit of advance notice.

I serve with a ministry called Life Action Ministries. We have three teams that travel across the United States ministering in local churches for ten months a year. I traveled with those teams for a number of years. One of the great blessings over the years has been all the people of God who have been willing to house our team members.

At any given time we have probably eighty or ninety people on the road in need of housing. People take our team members into their home, by twos generally, for up to two weeks at a time. That’s a big commitment.

Scripture says in the book of 3 John that if you extend hospitality to those traveling servants of the Lord, you are partaking in their work with them. You’re doing the ministry with them by bringing them into your home and housing them. So let your pastor or your church know that your home would be available for those who may have a need.

I’ve had the blessing of using my home—and the Lord gave me the chance in recent years to build an extra little spare guest bedroom in the basement so that I could have a room for those who might have extended housing needs.

I had a college student who stayed there a couple of summers. I’ve had different couples stay there as they were in need of housing. Then I could still have a guest room that was available for others. But to open your home and to have it available for those who have a housing need can be a great blessing to them.

As you get started, don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself with others. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart. In fact, I have found that some of the people who are the best at entertaining don’t always know how to really minister to people. You can have a great spread and a beautifully decorated home and a lavish set of accommodations but not really minister to people’s lives. Far better to have a little home, a simple meal, simple preparations, but to really connect to the hearts of the people who are in your home.

So don’t compare with how someone else does it. We’re at different seasons of life, and there are things you can do if your children are grown that you can’t do the same way if you have lots of little children.

I look back here, and Holly has eight children. I’m sure there is no way for a woman that is home schooling that many children to always have their home ready for company. That’s just not possible because that home is being very lived in right now.

There are ways I’ve seen Holly have a heart of hospitality even outside her own home, where we meet for a meal in a restaurant. She’s opened her heart to me, and her family has opened their hearts to me in ways that are hospitable. It’s not always even physically or geographically in the home. So don’t compare with what someone else can do.

I look at the way some of you cook, and I would be really nervous about having some of you into my home for me to cook a meal if I didn’t realize that that’s not what really matters. Now, when I go to your home and you cook that great meal, I’m going to appreciate it. I’m going to be very grateful for it.

But I don’t want to feel that I have to cook that way or be able to cook that way as a single working woman when I have you into my home, and I don’t think you expect that. I think you would be blessed to come into my home just to be loved and encouraged. So don’t compare with one another.

Then, if this is new to you, see if you can find a mentor in this area, someone who does use their home, who has an open heart, an open home. Find someone who’s known for their hospitality, maybe an older woman in your church, and ask her if she would help you get started.

Ask her if she would just give you some tips, some clues, some practical handles that she has found helpful. In this way we can really disciple and encourage one another to become women of hospitality, women of God.

The Scripture says, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another . . . distributing to the needs of the saints, pursuing hospitality” (Rom. 12:10-13). What an opportunity hospitality provides for all of us to express to our lonely, fearful, needy world the love, the heart of God Himself!

Father, help us through our lives to give people a taste and a hunger and a longing for Your home that is waiting for us in heaven, the home You are preparing for us, and for that great eternal feast where You will be our gracious, generous Host, and where You will serve us.

We long for that day. And in the meantime, my our hearts and our homes be an earthly, physical reality of that eternal reality that we anticipate. I pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Leslie: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss finishing up our series, The Heart of Hospitality. If you missed any of the series, you can order the CD at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can call 800-569-5959.

Series like this one are possible thanks to listeners who support Revive Our Hearts.  Recently, some of our listeners have contributed in some important ways.  Here’s Nancy to explain.

Nancy: I want to say a big thank you to all those who have given so far toward our matching challenge this month of $600,000! Your gift is making a huge difference in the lives of women. For example, you’re putting biblical teaching in front of women like Lilly. 

She had a temporary job assignment which meant that for a month and a half, she’d have a daily drive of thirty minutes. When she got in the car that very first day of the new assignment, Revive Our Hearts was on the radio.

Lilly: That first day I listened to her and I thought, "That was really good." I didn't realize that I was driving every day during her segment. So for about a month and a half while I was doing this semester, I was listening and was just powerfully impacted by what I heard.

Then I listened to the podcasts in my quiet time, and that's when I started sharing with everybody—my sister, my aunt, my mom. I have many friends—probably five or six right now—that all download her podcasts. My aunt regularly listens on the radio. My sister downloads the podcasts.

My sister, at the time that I suggested it to her, was considering divorce. We grew up with a lot of lies in our home. This has reversed a lot of the lies for me, and it has for her life and her marriage brought a lot of truth. They are actually happily celebrating now their third anniversary. There is a lot of peace in their home. I credit a lot of that to the teaching that we hear on Revive Our Hearts.

**I know that there are people who have in the past experienced the same that I have. They have been motivated to give their money to the support of this ministry. What they gave made it possible that day for me to hear, and it has had a huge effect on myself and my family. My immediate family, my husband, loves that I listen to Revive Our Hearts. My kids are too little to know yet, but I hope that they will someday say the same. My sister, my aunt, my friends are thankful that the people that made it possible for me to "happen" to hear it that day and to continue hearing it.

I've been motivated myself. My husband and I have been motivated to continue supporting the ministry because it has made that big of a difference for us.

I feel when I am able to give, that I am investing eternally. I have a daughter. She's precious. And I just imagine that the woman who is raising her husband. I imagine a godly mother who may know that truth and is preparing the generation my children will grow up in. Those are the ones I have a burden for--for young moms. The radio and podcasts are such an easy way to reach them. Giving makes me feel like I am investing in my generation, but even more, the next generation for my kids.

Nancy: Perhaps you can relate to Lilly’s story. Maybe God has used Revive Our Hearts in some significant ways in your life.  And now you have a burden to share that message with others. Would you respond by supporting Revive Our Hearts with a financial gift? We need your support at this time as we are pursuing God for His vision for the future.

As we've been sharing with you in recent weeks, some special friends of the ministry are doubling each gift this month up to a matching challenge amount of $600,000. When you help us meet this challenge amount, or even, Lord willing, to exceed it, you’re keeping our current base of ministry going strong, and you're also helping us take advantage of some expanded ministry opportunities in the days ahead. 

So if you resonate with Lilly's story and you want to help us reach this generation and future generations, let me just encourage you to make a donation today to Revive Our Hearts. You can make that contribution by giving us a call at 1-800-569-5959, or you can give online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Thank you so much for standing with us and believing God with us to move in a supernatural way in the hearts and homes of women in the days ahead.

Leslie: The holidays can be a joyful time, but they can also be a backdrop for disappointment and a sense of loss. If you’re struggling to control your feelings this season, join Stacey Smith for a series called Unpredictable Emotions, beginning tomorrow. I hope you can be here for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is from the New King James Version of the Bible. 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.