Unlimited: Practice Hospitality
Aug 4, 2023 211
Practice hospitality (Romans 12:13b).
The Greek word here translated as “hospitality” literally means, “love to strangers.” Charity is selflessly helping others whom we don’t know.
In ancient times, there was no concept of charity to be found anywhere. It is the Judaeo-Christian tradition, and particularly Christianity itself, that introduced charity into the world.
Sure, there were always people saying that you should be helpful and kind to others. But the reasons were always self-centred. By giving to others or helping them, you became a better person, or you helped the community so you yourself could have a nicer existence, or you made the gods take notice of you and be nice to you and grant your requests.
The Greek word translated as “hospitality” literally means, “love to strangers.”
But that’s not charity. These are business transactions: I’ll do something for this person because I get something in return. And because this is self-centredness, that’s why there were never any charitable institutions in the ancient world.
The idea of charity, based on indiscriminate kindness, is inherently unique to Christianity. The historical evidence from both Christians and pagans shows that from its origins, charity was one of the key things that set Christians apart from other people. It’s because of those who saw the example of how Jesus treated others, and followed his teachings, and it’s because of how these people influenced the development of civilisation.
Put this into practice. Make a donation today to a worthy not-for-profit that helps the needy, or arrange to volunteer for them, even if only once.