[management by God] to my good friend gaius

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

November 8, 2010

Whether a business or a personal trip, most of us have been away from the comfort of our own home at some point in our lives. When you’re away, in an unfamiliar place, you need someone to provide you certain comforts and help you take care of your needs. So we look to hotels to help provide a roof over our heads, and a comfortable bed to sleep in. We then also eat out at the hotel or other area restaurants, because we lack the means of preparing our own meals like we do at home.

Hotels and restaurants have become an entire industry focused on “hospitality”. When we’re out of our element, we rely quite a bit on the hospitality industry to help us take care of ourselves.

As we continue our study of the executive-leader qualifications, our sixth stop is at the requirement to be “hospitable”.

It’s easy to understand this when you think about family or old friends coming to visit you, but what does this mean in the workplace? How can someone display the the qualities of being hospitable in a business environment, and who exactly are we to be hospitable to?

In studying this topic, we’ll look at the writings of the Apostle John in the book of 3 John. This entire writing (only 14 verses in length) is focused on John sharing appreciation with his friend Gaius for his display of hospitality. Let’s look at some of the principles at play here…

It is done faithfully (v. 5)
You must do it even when you don’t feel like it. As leaders, we have a responsibility to be hospitable. There’s no exception to this rule. Being hospitable is something that we must do, and do all of the time regardless of the circumstances.

It is for strangers too (v.5)
The idea here is that you cannot be selective about who you extend your hospitality to. All people should be treated equally in this sense. In the workplace, I tend to think more about the people that you don’t like as opposed to someone you don’t know. There is a funny saying that I hear every once in a while in the workplace. It goes something like this, “be careful how you treat people, because you never know who you’ll be reporting to tomorrow.”

It is done with love (v. 6)
The motivating force behind hospitality is love. When leading people in any organization, you must relate to them and connect with them in order to get them to buy-in to you and your vision. If love is the glue that holds people together, then hospitality is simply an expression of that love to the people around you. It’s the idea that your sincere care for people’s well-being should make them feel comfortable being around you.

Have you ever been intimidated by someone’s presence? That is leadership driven by fear, and it won’t last. Have you ever been around someone that always makes you feel comfortable and makes you feel valued? That is leadership driven by love and a hospitable attitude.

Worthy of excellence (v.6)
If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it with excellence. This verse refers to Gaius’s hospitality being suitable for God Himself. Gaius was being hospitable at a level that has reached an excellence worthy of hosting the King. Make a strong effort at making people feel comfortable around you. This is tricky though… You don’t want to appear as if you’re trying too hard, because that too will push people away.

Treat as one with us (v. 8 )
Another factor in being hospitable is making people feel like they are with you and respected at the same level. Treat others as you would want to be treated. One of the most senior executives that I have met had a way of making me feel comfortable when we talked. This person never made me feel inferior, but instead usually made me feel like I was right on the same level. There was a sense that I was just important (if not more important) than them or anyone else in the organization. And it was sincere.

I believe that being hospitable is more about how you make people feel than it is about the resources you give them. It’s about the attitude that you carry regarding the people around you. Make them feel comfortable and valued, and they will follow you anywhere.

Questions to consider:

  • What are you doing to provide a comfortable atmosphere in your environment?
  • What would the people around you say about you?
  • Do people physically come to you or leave when you come around?
  • If they’re not coming to you, it’s likely because they don’t feel that comfortable with you. If this is the case, what do you think it would take in order to make them want to be around you?
  • How can you humbly enter into their world and try to make it a better place?


See more from the management by God series!


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[management by God] to my good friend gaius

by Dan King time to read: 4 min