The Greek word is philoxenia is a compound of two Greek words –philos – “kind affection” or “love” and xenos – “stranger. ” Literally, philoxenia means “one who loves strangers.” In the first century they didn’t have Holiday Inns, Red Roof Inns, or even Motel 6. A night in an inn would be unpleasant for they were ill kept. It would have also been dangerous. The solution to the problem of lodging for traveling Christians at that time was for other Christians to open their homes to traveling brothers.
Lydia was a prominent, respected and successful businesswoman in Philippi. Paul and Silas met with her, and God “opened her heart” to the gospel. She and her entire household gave their hearts and lives to Jesus. What is so difficult to some Christians seemed to be an immediate response in her new life in Christ. She urged Paul and Silas to be her house guests. She suddenly viewed her home and possessions as resources that could be used by God to help build his church. She saw a need as she looked at Paul and his travel-worn missionary team. Instinctively she sought to meet the need. Scholars believe that her house served as a home base for the church at Philippi for quite some time. It would be well if all Christians would ask themselves, “How can I develop a better willingness to be hospitable and to value people?”
By Dr. Gayle Woods