The Apostle Paul was all in favor of hospitality. On his travels he could not afford a motel, had there been any. So he relied, we may assume, on the hospitality of believers around the empire.
But his reasons for urging believers to be hospitable were more visionary. Look at Romans 12. Having brought eleven chapters of teaching to the church, he uses chapter 12 to tell the people how to express all that in their daily lives. Follow the directives of chapter 12 and you will have a fruitful Christian life.
Now one of the directives is: “practice hospitality” (vs. 13).
We must not underestimate the weight of this advice of Paul. These were times of stress and strain for the church in Rome. Time and time again, there were persecutions around the empire. Refugees would have arrived in Rome constantly. They were poor, upset, and tired. Paul implies that the Christians of Rome should take them in. Such hospitality would have been costly in more than one way.
The early immigrants in Western Michigan and Iowa welcomed newcomers, many of whom were needy. And I remember the early years of my ministry in Canada when immigrants arrived in large numbers. One Saturday three new families arrived by train. That Sunday I introduced them to the congregation and added; “Who will take them in for the next few days?” Many hands went up.
Today that call of Paul has its own weight for us. Many of our congregations struggle with shrinkage of membership. The causes will be several. But I think one prominent one is: members not having a strong sense of belonging. Church life has been reduced, in many respects, to not much more than attending services, members not knowing the names of fellow members. Among you there will be members with pressing needs who feel lonely because fellow worshipers don't know.
Most of us are busy people, too. It will not likely suit us to have guests stay for even a little while.
Members visiting with members, members opening their homes, members talking together, members sharing needs, members practicing hospitality, it is just so important. Hospitality helps memberships to become communities.