During college I was in a singing and acting troupe that toured churches throughout the country. A lot of Christians opened their homes to six college students in an act of charity and hospitality.
At the end of our time in each home, we'd hear our gracious host remark, "It was so nice having you." To which one of the guys in our group would reply, "It was so nice being had!"
As crazy as it sounds, I think my friend's statement hits on a truth of hospitality. It's about an attitude of giving and receiving. It's about the state of our mind and heart, more than the state of our home or possessions.
Just look at Jesus: the ultimate gracious host—he welcomed into his presence children, prostitutes, fishermen, tax collectors, lepers. And he accepted hospitality from others who welcomed him.
Ultimately, biblical hospitality is about maintaining a welcoming attitude wherever we are—whether it's at our home or in the grocery store. It's about making people feel the presence of Jesus.
In her book Seeking God, Esther de Waal, says that at the end of our hospitable activity we're faced with two questions, "Did we see Christ in them?" and "Did they see Christ in us?"
If we can answer yes, then we've practiced being the hands and feet and attitude of Jesus through biblical hospitality, wherever we are.