A grossly overlooked qualification for leadership …

Elder X always took time to talk with me every Sunday I visited with this church (which was often, and for a time I was a member there). He seemed sincerely interested in me, and I was praying regularly about several issues he shared he was struggling with.

Elder X was such a friendly, warm guy!

So, a few times I suggested we get together over coffee, telling him I would welcome an opportunity to get to know him better.

Elder X never took me up on my offers. He limited his interaction to acting friendly and warm on Sunday mornings.

Church leaders are constantly frustrated with congregations that are friendly on Sunday, but don’t have much to do with each other any other time. Leaders are routinely grappling with how to get people to involve themselves in the lives of others.

Could it be that the leaders themselves too often fail at a key qualification for leadership that could set the example for their flocks?

“So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. HE MUST ENJOY HAVING GUESTS IN HIS HOME, and he must be able to teach,” 1 Timothy 3:2.

If we want Christians to be hospitable to others, we need to demonstrate hospitality by living it out in front of them. Nothing teaches more loudly than how you live your life. If you’re friendly on Sunday morning, but never bring people into your home, don’t expect the people you lead to act differently from your example.

But if you are hospitable to others, you model the kind of life Jesus wants us to live, and you might be surprised at the blessings that will come your way because of your own hospitality.

One stormy night, an elderly couple entered the lobby of a small hotel and requested a room. The clerk said all the rooms were filled, as were all the hotels in town.

“But I can’t send a fine couple like you out in the rain,” the clerk told them. “Would you be willing to sleep in my room?” he asked.

The couple hesitated, but the clerk insisted.

The next morning, when the man was paying his bill, he said to the clerk, “You’re the kind of man who should be managing the best hotel in the United States. Someday, I’ll build you one.”

The clerk smiled politely, but soon forgot about the comment.

A few years later, the same clerk received a letter from the elderly man, recalling that stormy night and asking him to come to New York. A round-trip ticket was enclosed. When the clerk arrived, his host took him to the corner of 5th Avenue and 34th Street, where stood a magnificent new building.

“That,” explained the man, “is the hotel I have built for you to manage.”

The man was William Waldorf Astor, and the hotel was the original Waldorf-Astoria.

Are you living out an example of hospitality to those you lead? Do you share authentic hospitality in your home with others? Or do you just act warm and friendly on Sunday mornings?