Day 69: Practicing Hospitality in Business
1. Center Down
Our breath prayer for today. As you inhale, whisper, “I will walk…“ As you exhale whisper, “…in integrity.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scripture
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. (Luke 2:1-7, NIV) For further exploration:
3. Kingdom Prayer
Almighty Father, we thank You for providing for us, during these tough economic times. Thank You for being the source of our supply. We thank You for taking care of us and supplying all of our needs from Your glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Father, You created the heavens and the earth and everything in it. You give breath to everyone and life to everyone who walks the earth. We will praise Your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord. We will tell everyone that You alone are just. We praise You, Lord! Father God, we are joyful because we fear You, Lord, and delight in obeying Your commands. We are blessed to be Your children.
Heavenly Father, we expect business leaders in our community to honor Your Word and live by Your precepts. We command light to shine in the darkness for the Godly. We declare that they are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. During the current economic difficulties in our nation and around the world, we decree prosperity for our community. We decree that the merchants in our community will not fear bad news; they confidently trust You, Lord, to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.
Holy Spirit, touch the hearts of the people in our community to support these businesses. Help our business leaders to establish fair and honest business practices so that the residents in our community will enjoy doing business with them. Show the owners and managers new and creative ways to increase their revenue without taking advantage of their customers. Convict the hearts of business owners in all communities who treat their employees and customers poorly. Holy Spirit, help the employees to be diligent, hardworking individuals who will work as unto You instead of to man.
Make a list of small businesses in your community and begin to support them:
Righteous Father, forgive the business leaders in our community for all acts of sinfulness. Forgive those who have not been diligent in seeking Your leadership for their businesses. Forgive those who do not trust in You and Your business principles, but lean on their own understanding. Forgive those who have compromised Your Word in order to make a profit. Forgive those who have not treated their employees and customers fairly. Forgive those who have not properly taken care of or shown respect for the community they live in. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed).
Holy Spirit, remind the business leaders in our community of those they need to forgive and help them to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help the business leaders in our community not to yield to temptation but deliver them from the evil one.
Almighty God, You are awesome in Your sanctuary. O God of Israel, You give power and strength to Your people. Sovereign Lord, You are great! You are robed with honor and majesty. You are the eternal King. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Text: Psalm 23:1,
Philippians 4:19, Isaiah 42:5, Psalm 71:16, Psalm 112:4-6, Psalm
112:7-9, Psalm 68:35, Psalm 104:1
4. Concepts to Consider
The so-called “innkeeper“ in Luke 2 too often gets a bad rap. The common line goes, “He stuck Mary and Joseph out there in that dirty barn to have their baby! How heartless!” When actually, the opposite is true. It was because of concern and care for this weary couple that whoever owned or managed the house (it was not an inn or hotel like we have today) actually acted with great integrity and compassion. He didn’t kick them to the curb, and there is no mention of them being charged for their stay. And if you think about it, a woman screaming in labor would not have been terribly comfortable for the other guests in the house.
Stables during this time were generally caves that were either natural or hewn out of the rock to accommodate and protect the resident’s precious animals. A “manger” would have been a depression cut into a ledge or the floor where the animals’ food would have been. It was a feeding trough, of sorts. Mary and Joseph could be made comfortable in such a location and it would have offered them privacy for the birth.
So you see, the “innkeeper” was actually a hospitable and generous business person.
Hospitality in business goes well beyond mere generosity out of an abundance of wealth, or a public relations scheme. Biblical commercial hospitality has to do with the heart of those who run the business. Do they make room for the people that others would dismiss? The weary, the stragglers, the unprepared, the marginalized, etc. as both employees and as equitable receivers of their goods and/or services?
As the LORD says, “[provide for] the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns [so they] may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” [aka your business!] (Deuteronomy 14:29, NIV)
5. Reflection Questions
- Personal Reflection. When you shop or patronize a business, to you investigate their ethics to see if they meet the Biblical standards of basic hospitality and justice? Why or why not?
- Kingdom Reflection. In God’s Kingdom there is not distinction between public and private or business and church. There is not one set of ethics for family and church and another less scrupulous set of ethics for business. Biblically speaking, all is in continuity. How does this understand affect how you do your job or run your business?
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Scriptural word, phrase, or image.
You may want to set a timer.