Hospitality is not something that comes naturally to me. To be honest, I really never considered myself someone who did hospitality well. I don’t really cook much, I don’t like decorating, I hate planning parties where things match and the decorations are all cute and fancy, and I always forget to bring people meals when I am supposed to. But, as I have been challenged by the biblical call to hospitality, I have recently realized that hospitality is not something I am exempt from showing. I have also come to realize that it is not quite what I have built it up to be in my mind. So, this short series is my attempt at making hospitality a little more palatable for those who find it challenging or overwhelming.
Before we get started with some practical things (to come in posts later this week), we need to be clear on what hospitality is not.
Hospitality is not:
A perfectly decorated table.
A perfectly organized and clean home, filled with people every night of the week.
A perfectly cooked meal.
Hospitality is not the outward appearance of perfection. It is not getting the decorations and invitations just right. It is not impressing others with your “put-togetherness”. It is not having your house perfectly set up before inviting others in. Hospitality begins in the heart, and then practically flows from there.
What Hospitality is:
The willingness to meet the needs of others. Not so they are greatful to you, but because God’s love compels you to act on their behalf.
The desire to make someone feel comfortable in your home, as though they have a place there; as though they belong there.
The openness to drop your own plans, desires and wants for the needs and comforts of others.
About connecting with others, meeting their need for encouragement and refreshment, and moving both parties toward a deeper affection for God.
Pin-worthiness is not the Point
Pinterest wants us to believe that hospitality needs to be “pin-worthy” or blogable. Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of resources out there to keep you chock full of ideas on how to be hospitable. Those are good things to consider. But, before planning the perfect dinner party, examining your motives is a good place to start. Are you planning for your own glory, or to make others feel welcomed and special (because the difference between the those two things will be glaring in how that dinner party plays out). Are you begrudgingly opening up your home, giving your time or caring for others? If so, ask God to change your heart on that.
The Bible is clear in speaking to all believers; hospitality is not an option. So, for the rest of this week, I want to look at what it means to really live a life of hospitality. If you are a Martha kind of server, with a Mary kind of heart, then maybe you don’t need this series. But, if you struggle to live hospitably, or to do so out of a heart that is compelled by God, then check back throughout the week for more practical ways to live this biblical principle out.
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