Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 (NLT)
For the past two weeks, it has been my privilege to host my older sister Carol in my home. She is eleven years older than my triplet sisters and I. We met when we were about 16 because of God’s amazing miraculous connection. Now she is turning 84 soon and deals with Parkinsons Disease. Her daughter, who she lives with, works for H & R Block. Due to increased work hours, her time to help and be with Carol is limited, so I invited her to visit.
I know it is intimidating for many to even invite someone in their home for a meal or a cup of coffee—so the idea of hosting people for longer can be overwhelming. However, there is a hidden blessing of having the gift of time with someone. When my late husband, Darryl, and I traveled in ministry, we often stayed with others and had many stay with us. It gave us such an insight and opportunity to speak into the lives of those we were with. Was it always easy? No. I am sure we weren’t always the best or easiest guests, even though we tried to be! Having Carol here reminded me of so many marvelous conversations and ministry opportunities that helped strengthen us and others.
Carol’s daughter Lyn, was worried about her mom staying so long. As we talked, we realized she had never stayed with anyone herself! I am grateful for the experience I have had in hosting others. I am grateful for others who, for the sake of the ministry hosted Darryl and I. Our dear friends, Jim and Jean Stephens, invited us to stay with them in Jamaica and later on in England, helped provide an opportunity to minister to others, not just once, but several times. Bill and Darlene Hinckley provided us a home away from home so our ministry could help strengthen local churches in that area. Les and Barb Young let us stay in a “mother-in-law” type apartment above their garage, many times as well. Phil and Ellen Wolf let us stay in their Bed and Breakfast in Vermont, again so we could minister in their area churches. Our Southern Oregon friends, the Simmons and the Schmelzers are the same. They are open-hearted and open home examples. These folks fulfilled 1 Peter 4:9: Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. Because they were willing to share their homes, we could better afford to fulfill our ministry.
Maybe you are thinking, well what does that have to do with me? I want to encourage each of us to widen our hearts. It is easy to justify not being hospitable. My house isn’t perfect or too small. So widen your heart, and invite someone for coffee, or for a walk. There are other ways you can develop a hospitable heart. It starts with listening to God’s voice about others. Hospitality helps get rid of our selfishness. To be good at it, it must be about others, not ourselves. And that is downright hard. But it is doable, scriptural and can be learned. Feeling a bit insecure about it? Team up with someone. Do a potluck, set up a game or movie night. Start with something you enjoy and invite others to join you.
There is so much joy in hospitality. But if you never go there, you will not discover it. I have heard of Christians in Romania, Bela Rus, and Poland opening up their homes to Ukrainian refugees. I am grateful for their care and love for these hurting souls. It warms my heart, but also challenges me. Would I do the same?
Father, this is an area we often take as an option in the scripture. Your Word tells us to be hospitable. I thank You for helping us grow in this area. Teach us how to receive not only our friends, and family; but also as Your Word encourages, strangers. We need to grow in this area. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
So can I encourage you to start somewhere? Start by asking the Lord to show you where to begin? I set my home up for others. I have seven individual lamps in my living room so that my Life Group ladies can have light to read their Bibles etc. Do I need that many? NO. Does it look a bit weird? Yes. It isn’t about me, but them. I have many mugs and dishes that I don’t really need, as I live alone, but I have them for others. I am not trying to boast in myself, but I get the privilege of watching God change others through the use of my home. We often count the cost and choose not to pay it (too much time, money or getting out of our comfort zones). But in that counting, we don’t know what treasure we will reap in the lives of others for HIs Kingdom. Simply opening your heart, trusting God’s to flow through you, is the beginning of a hospitable heart. During Carol’s visit, we had much laughter, a few tears and bit of frustration—but all in all, it was priceless. We both learned, grew, and it also gave her the opportunity to spend time with my children, grandchildren and our two sisters who live here, as well. She was able to love on and receive love from my Life Group ladies, too!
Father, this is an area we often take as an option in the scripture. Your Word tells us to be hospitable. I thank You for helping us grow in this area. Teach us how to receive not only our friends and family; but also as Your Word encourages, strangers. We need to grow in this area. In Jesus’ Name, amen.