“Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13
It is always nice to get clear instructions. This two-word direction is about as short as an instruction can be – one verb, one noun. But then I guess the complexity of the instructions are largely dependent on the meaning given to the noun – hospitality. In common parlance we seem to have narrowed the use and meaning of “hospitality” to a transactional context, as in the “hospitality business” or “hospitality industry.” Hospitality seems most commonly to be thought of as something that is expected on payment for it to a hotel or some other business entity providing services for a fee.
The biblical meaning of “hospitality” seems much broader. In the Romans passage, the instruction comes as a summary of the paragraph above it (in a section captioned “Love” in my Bible) that includes admonitions about love (Love must be sincere.” v. 9), hate, honor, zeal, joy, hope, patience, and sharing (Romans 12:9-13), and thus the suggestion is that hospitality invokes all of those things. There is no mention of a precondition of money changing hands. The usage of the word in 1 Peter 9 is similar — “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” — as is the context. That usage (in a section captioned “Living for God” is preceded by a notation about love — “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” v. 8
Okay, I suppose there is supposed to be some point to this meandering. But I am not sure I can do better than the source. Practice hospitality without precondition, without grumbling, and don’t hold your hand out for the tip.