1 Timothy 3:2-3 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, (3) not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
I was thinking recently about this quality that the Lord requires in a pastor/elder called – hospitable. You have probably heard before that it literally means “a lover of strangers.” It is far more than merely hosting hospitality social events. It really is a facet of love. It is loving people who cannot do anything in return for you. It is an objective love that doesn’t show favoritism.
Many of the wicked have what we would call an “elitist” mentality. They are motivated by “what’s in it for me?” because that really is why they do what they do. And so it is when they get into a church leadership position. “What’s in it for me?” they always ask (though usually not out loud). They are a cut above the rest of us rabble. This thinking is an evil leaven that can quickly spread throughout a local church. It is a spiritual pandemic today in fact.
The clearest pictures of this hospitality are to be seen in the Lord Jesus:
Matthew 9:10-12 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. (11) And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (12) But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
What was in it for Jesus? Nothing, really. In fact He was going to catch a lot of flack from the religious elitists for associating with the deplorables.
I remember years ago in our first church up in the mountains of Montana, I had some friends who lived in a small shack back in the woods. They were definitely “off the grid” and different. But I really enjoyed going there. Once when they came to a church service in a neighboring community where I had started another church, I overheard a lady afterward say this about them, “I’m sorry, but I have a real problem with that.” She and her husband of course lived in a really big nice log home with full utilities and all the amenities. They liked being rich. They were elitists.
There is no room for this kind of mentality in the kingdom of God. The King Himself is lowly and humble in heart, having come into this world to save the likes of us. Anyone who has a problem with that belongs to another kingdom and another god.