This week I was privileged, blessed and enjoyed hosting our friend, David Freeman. He travels at times for his job and is able to work remotely at other times which gives him the freedom to visit friends and family. I’ve known his parents before he was born, so it definitely is a long term friendship. I got to practice hospitality.
Hospitality is encouraged throughout the Word of God. Now days, to many people it is often seen as a burden, or something that is only for the few with “the gift”. I Peter 4:8-9 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins, Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. I think Peter is spurring every believer to become comfortable with hospitality–the opening up of ones home and heart to love, care for and uplift others,
It begins in our hearts. We may open a bedroom or table, but without having an open heart to the people we invite in, it is all in vain. My parents modeled hospitality for us. For my mom, it was usually a more planned in advance event. The house would be cleaned (even those spots the visitors would not see!), clothes picked out, menu planned in preparation for the gathering. I think she really enjoyed caring for people in this way. My father would meet people at church, invite them home to a pot of pinto beans and fry up a chicken-a much more casual and informal setting. He genuinely loved people and freely opened his home. So when I married a minister, I was well prepared to keep an “open” home. But for others who did not have this Texas hospitality modeled, it can be daunting and something to avoid. But, my friends, you are missing out on many opportunities to grow in love, grace and fellowship.
Where faith comes into hospitality is when you begin thinking about the “cost”. There is a cost–time, energy and money are all a consideration–but most of the time we don’t consider the fruit that can/will come from opening up your home and spending time and fellowship with others. As we open our hearts with prayer–asking the Father to bless the gathering (it doesn’t have to be a “spiritual” event), God’s presence and favor will show up. People want to feel seen, wanted and heard. Letting your open home be such a setting pleases the Lord. Hospitality, if done right, does encourage us to get our eyes off ourselves and onto friends, family or even strangers.
Last week at the Life Group I lead ,we had several new people. It sort of felt awkward to some of the “regulars” in a mildly uncomfortable way. As I opened in prayer the Holy Spirit led me to ask the Lord to help us see each new sister as a gift as yet to be opened. I could feel everyone begin to relax and by the end of the evening we were laughing and enjoying each other. My daughter and son in law have an open home as well. They are not “fancy” people–and with four children their home is not always spotless–but the warmth and welcome you feel as they serve you a cup of tea is heartfelt and many lives have been changed because of their open heart/open home. Tears of sorrow and tears of joy have both been shed in their home as they seek to simply love others in their home.
I encourage you to ask the Lord to help you have an open heart to have an open home. Romans 12:13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need practice hospitality. Hospitality can take practice. Start with a celebration (birthday, anniversary or other monumental events–large or small!) So many questions pop up in your head–should I serve food, what kind of food? Are they allergic, are they picky eaters–etc–ask! Do a potluck. Or go very simple–just beverages and popcorn! Worried about conversations? Play games! Invite them for a specific time period–set a starting and ending time if you are concerned about going past your bedtime. If you are invited–go, enjoy and be a good guest! Let’s practice this Biblical mandate! We can do it!