It’s amazing how God will keep putting things in front of you when He is trying to teach you something!
About this time last year I read Romans 12:13 that says “Practice Hospitality”. And I realized that this is one of God’s commands to me. So I set about to learn how and to do it!
Fast forward to this year… last week our MOPS topic was, you guessed it… hospitality. And Sunday’s sermon was…giving. They are basically one and the same! And Pastor Andy asked a question at the end – do you have a stingy heart?
I think a stingy heart is the opposite of hospitality. It’s what keeps us from being hospitable. I used to think of hospitality in terms of Martha Stewart -type hospitality. I am coming to know hospitality as the quality of making people feel welcome – anywhere (i.e., it doesn’t even have to be in your home!!)
So I thought I’d share with you what God has been teaching me about hospitality:
(1) It’s SO not about me! When we try to impress others with our housekeeping, our cooking, our baking, our decor, etc., we are trying to impress them – and trying to make them see how great we are. It’s focusing on ME. When I focus primarily on the other person and meeting their needs, then and only then am I practicing true hospitality.
(2) Plan ahead and be prepared, but don’t obsess (read the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible – and read #1 above again). Planning ahead and preparing helps people feel welcome, but it can become the focus of our efforts. And practice is the operative word for some of us! We may need to try a few times to get into a good routine!
(3) Practicing hospitality as I mentioned above is a command from God. He’s basically telling us not to have a stingy heart when it comes to sharing our lives, our time, our possessions, with others. God also tells us to be hospitable without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9)… even those of us who may not be “natural hostesses”. We should be glad to share what God has given us with others!
(4) Remember that most other people are not judging us like we judge ourselves. I know I enjoy being invited over to someone’s house for dinner simply because I enjoy their company and I don’t have to make it! I really don’t care how their house looks or how clean it is. In fact, I like to see a little bit of mess because first of all it makes me feel like they trust me with their true selves, and second because it doesn’t make me feel inferior for my house not being perfect. I need to remember this and not get stressed about things when I invite others over.
(5) Often we think about hospitality as being strictly about our homes… but it needs to be a way of life wherever we are. We can be hospitable (make people feel comfy and welcome) wherever we are. We all have something to offer others no matter where we are, what we are doing, or where we live.
OK – so now I need to go “practice”!
In what areas of hospitality do you struggle?