Genuine Hospitality

In the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, Christ Jesus, master of parable, describes genuine hospitality. Graphically he portrays the day of just recognition, when, we are told, the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne with the nations gathered in his presence. The righteous will be separated from the unrighteous. To the former he will explain why they are enabled to partake of their reward; why they are given preference over the others; telling them how, when he was in need, hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, and in prison, they had met his every want. To this the righteous, in doubt, will inquire as to the times and circumstances under which they have rendered such service. Then, we are assured, the King will answer, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." In their love and compassion for their fellow-men they had exemplified the Christly beneficence which is genuine hospitality.

While this narrative is manifestly allegorical, there is, perhaps, no place in all the Scriptures where are better described the graces of Christian ministry which constitute true hospitality,—our duty to the stranger within our gates, to our neighbor, and to our fellow-man with whom we come in daily contact. May not the specific types of need which were supplied by the righteous be regarded as an epitome of all the acts of benevolence and loving-kindness and charity which we owe one another? We may not always have the opportunity to feed the hungry and quench their thirst, clothe them or furnish them shelter; but assuredly there is never lacking the opportunity to exercise Christian kindness, to think rightly regarding all mankind, and to know the truth about man, thereby helping our brother up the hill of demonstration, while at the same time gaining for ourselves higher spiritual altitudes. Thus we rise out of the depths of materialism in which the carnal mind, if its desires could be realized, would hold men enslaved.

The Brotherhood of Man
March 24, 1923

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