Hospitality. What image just came to your mind? Was it an immaculate home, a fancy table setting with a prepared gourmet meal? I have personally been really convicted about the value of serving others and creating meaningful personal relationships with those around me.
We live in a world where beautiful images in a magazine often make our own homes feel inadequate. We wonder if our table setting will be good enough, we fret over the meal that we may have to prepare and we wonder if our house is clean enough. But, what if, it goes beyond the perfection we have in our minds?
How many times have you thought, "I would like to have someone over, but...." Fear sets in and you wonder if you have the skills, the time, the things to make your home hospitable. I have been there. I know those thoughts and I know those excuses. I like to think of those excuses as a form of counterfeit hospitality. Hospitality is not about me, as the host, it isn't about what I own, the size of my house, or what kind of meal I can or can not cook. Hospitality is about the joy of serving those in our home and even those outside our home. It is about forming relationships with other people, showing them love, grace, generosity, and kindness.
I recently met an older lady who has the gift of hospitality. As she spoke, I could feel the love that she had for other people and it was a joy to hear of how she served others. It really made me stop and think about how our family has been given so much from the Lord. Yet, I have been so reluctant to share our home and lend our families friendship to others, especially those who need it the most. Isn't there a yearning in all of us to connect and to have those meaningful relationships.? Yet, I allow those thoughts of doubt to creep into my mind. What will they think of our home? It is still a home that is being remodeled and I think, "I will wait until our home is finished" then I will invite people over. Inviting people into our homes will cost us. It will cost our time, service and sacrifice and it is easy to focus on the difficulties of being hospitable. Yet, we are called to show the love of Christ with gratitude through hospitality.
So, I began to pray that God would use our home and that God would allow us to be available and open to those in need. And then things all of a sudden began to happen. There was a day where my husband and I were in the middle of installing new kitchen lights, there was a knock at the door, and I answered. It was a young man who is a known to have problems with drugs, he lives in a home that most would consider inhabitable. His girlfriend is pregnant and yet he knew that he needed to find a job. We stopped what we were doing to sit and visit with him, to encourage him. He didn't stay long, and when he left, I was near tears. A known drug addict just entered the home of the only pastor in town. Isn't that what it is about? No fancy meal was served, there was a hole cut in the ceiling, tools scattered on the kitchen table and yet at that moment we could show hospitality. I don't say that to glorify us. It was humbling to me and I was thankful for the message that God was sharing with my heart. It's not about me, it's not about my home, it is about showing hospitality the way God desires.
In the past two weeks, our family has shared our home with multiple families, served meals at our table, invited a couple for a game night, prayed with a wife who is in a broken marriage, and enjoyed the company of our teenagers' friends. Hospitality has taken on a new meaning for me and I am thankful that God has changed my heart. He is allowing me to see hospitality as a ministry and I believe that opening our home is a biblical command and a privilege. Our home is humble and small, yet it is clean. The food I serve is simple but nourishing and I am honored that the Lord has opened my eyes to the beauty and joy of sharing it with those around me.
Hospitality: to honor and obey God with what He gives us by serving others around us.
Do you have a desire to be hospitable or is this something that comes naturally to you? I recently shared several simple and easy ways that you can practice hospitality.
1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling