Hospitality (according to Webster) is the act or practice of receiving and entertaining strangers or guests without reward, or with kind and generous liberality.
A stranger (according to Webster) is a foreigner of another country; one of another town, city, state, ... ; one unknown; one unacquainted; a guest; a visitor.
Guests - a person who spends some time at another persons home at a party, dinner, or just visiting.
In Romans 12 Paul is talking about how we are to live out the righteousness of God, the practical application of it in our lives. Verse 13 says that we are to be given to hospitality. I am very grateful to have grown up in a home where this was demonstrated. It was nothing unusual to have guests at our table and staying overnight, and not just people that we knew. Very often, my mom invited, whoever the visitors at church were, over to our house to eat after church. I remember one Sunday a family showed up (is that proper English) at the church with all of their belongings in and on their car. They had just arrived in town from California with no place to live yet. Of course they came home with us until they found a place to stay. I'm sure I could not count the number of people who have stayed with us and ate with us, people from many different countries, states, and backgrounds. Such a rich heritage.
Not only have I been impacted by the hospitality shown growing up, but also by the hospitality shown to me and my family. When we moved away from home, we learned how meaningful it is to be invited into someone elses home and family. When you are new to a church or living away from family, and someone invites you into their home, it right away makes you feel welcome and more a part of that church. I often remember the story that I read in Guidepost about a young lady who had just moved to a new town. She visited a church that Sunday and after the service a lady invited her to her home for lunch. The lady brought out a pan of cornbread and a drink. They sat and talked and ate. The young lady kept thinking that the second course would be brought out, but it never was. But actually, she so enjoyed her visit and the kindness that was shown to her, a lonely stranger, that she really didn't care that this was all they had for lunch. She was so touched by this older woman's kindness and hospitality. I often think of this story when I feel like I don't have anything special enough to offer guests. One of the families from our church in Kansas who often opened up their home to the whole church, did not have the fanciest house, and it was not always spotless (6 kids), but no one cared, we just appreciated and enjoyed their hospitality. People really don't care what your house looks like (thank goodness) or how fancy the meal is, they just want to be shown that you love and care about them. I believe this element of godliness is so important in our lives and in the church.
1 Peter 4:9 "Use hospitality one to another without grudging."
Hebrews13:2 "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."