The people of the East, especially in Arabia and parts of India, are noted for their hospitality. And among the people of the North-West Indian Frontier, the laws of hospitality are strictly observed; and even the most lawless raider will never rob or hunt a man who has eaten his salt, even though he is an enemy.
A great deal of hospitality is merely a matter of fashion, and is selfish in its spirit. People ask acquaintances to dinner, not because they want to do them a service but because it is “the thing to do” and because they hope to be asked back again in return. This is not the kind of hospitality which is a virtue; for that is unselfish and inspired by kindly feelings. So the Founder of Christianity taught his disciples to show hospitality only to the poor, who needed food, and who could not reward them for their kindness. While he sat at meal in the house of a rich Pharisee who had invited him to dine with him one day, he said to his host: “When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor rich neighbors, lest haply they also bid thee again and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, bid the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind; because that have not wherewith to recompense thee.”