We’ve arrived at our final week in the small book of 3 John: three months of in-depth Bible study now under our belts this calendar year, and I, for sure, am better for it. Taking the extra time to dig a bit beneath the surface into these short books of Scripture has opened up my eyes, challenged my faith, and encouraged my heart.
Christian Hospitality + Themes of 3 John
So far, we’ve covered the importance of walking in the truth (shoutout to Gaius), the downfall of pride and jealousy (Diotrephes), the beauty and necessity of discipleship (John’s relationship with Gaius), and this final week in 3 John will be all about Christian hospitality (the primary theme of 3 John). Diotrephes was trying to stop, prevent, or hinder traveling missionaries from coming into the church, and he even went so far as persecuting those who tried to help them. This was the problem that was addressed in 3 John.
What is so striking to me is this: how could a genuine follower of Christ try to hinder or prevent the spread of the Gospel? Especially when you consider that hospitality is a spiritual gift, (Romans 12:7 uses the word “serving” and 1 Corinthians 12:28 uses the word “helping”) it’s almost baffling to me that someone would try to stifle this within the church. Yet, this was the scene of 3 John.
Scripture is so clear about hospitality and unapologetic in its mandate to believers. We are called to operate in hospitality towards all, especially towards believers.
“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9 ESV
“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:13 ESV
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 ESV
“We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.” 3 John 1:8 NIV
Am I hospitable?
These verses, among many more, beg the question, “Am I hospitable?” Do I seek to find ways to show hospitality? Do I prioritize serving and helping others? When you take a minute to think about it, it’s impossible to excuse the lack of this in our lives as believers. Jesus Christ, the perfect example of every Christian virtue, displayed hospitality at its finest in His incarnation. He chose to leave the perfection of His heavenly home, humbled Himself, and came to earth as a baby. He lived a life to serve, and ultimately gave His life for our rescue. Helping and serving are what Jesus was all about. His model and example invite us to a life that is bigger and greater than living life just for ourselves.
You, my friend, were made for more than just yourself.
You were made to play a role in bringing the Kingdom of God down to this Earth.
You were made to show kindness and generosity to others.
You were made to reflect the light and the love of Jesus.
How are your days marked by hospitality? Who are we serving? Who are we helping? Whose needs are we meeting?
This, my friend, is how we introduce Jesus to this hurting world.