Elisabeth Elliot—one of my favorite authors and an incredibly inspiring Christian—speaks fondly of childhood memories of the company her parents entertained in her book The Shaping of a Christian Family. Visiting missionaries, church members, or friends were regularly welcomed in their home and at their table. Elliot goes on to write of the impression that left on her about being hospitable.
Romans 12 identifies the marks of a true Christian. Hospitality, that old-fashioned virtue, is inexcusably among them. Elliot’s childhood and what is commanded in Scripture formed her view of hospitality. She had an open home just as her parents did.
What is hospitality, though? Is it always having people over and feeding them?
These days seem unprecedented with lock downs, toilet paper shortages, and social distancing. It seems ominous, even slightly apocalyptic. But it is nothing the world hasn’t ever seen before. There have been plagues and pestilences before. The news of the novel coronavirus, how fast it is spreading, and how many people are dying each day sounds so frightening when the media reports it.
How does anyone find comfort and peace during this time? Maybe the vice grip on your chest loosens when you know you have enough supplies stocked up for the next month (or two). Maybe the anxiety eases when you completely cut yourself off from the world to keep the virus out of your life and home. Maybe some peace sneaks in when you realize that COVID-19 acts like any other virus. It acts like the virus of the H1N1 Pandemic of 2009. Only during that pandemic millions of people died. Maybe you rest easier knowing that the fatality rate of COVID-19 is nowhere near that yet.