Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hospitality 101: the mark of a gracious Christian

Today I was reading in Romans 12. Hospitality is listed with the other things that make for a godly believer.

Let love be genuine. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (parts of Romans 12: 9-13)

Hospitality is an great idea for all Christians, not just the ones who appear to have a natural ability in this endeavor. If it were up to natural abilities, I would not feel qualified to do this. I'm not fancy and fussy. I serve normal, plain food to people. My house is not spotless, and my kids are not perfect.

For some reason, I do not let those things stop me from having people over. I see this as something that God is in. It's God's work, so he promises to do the providing.

I have prayed and asked the Lord that if there is some way that our home, food or facilities are not adequate for whomever is planning to come over, that he would just re-direct their paths. If (whatever guests) happen to land on our soil, we will serve them as we would the Lord Jesus. I pray that the Lord would use our weaknesses as well as our strengths to serve those who come under our roof, as service to Him.

The emphasis is on:
1. willingness to serve,
2. letting the Lord direct the events, food, accommodations and the details, and
3. looking at it as form of spiritual service.

In this way, it takes the emphasis off of ourselves, our home, our possessions, and on to the Lord Jesus. Can we do that?

Can we stop seeing hospitality as a gift that only certain people have?

Can we start seeing ourselves as someone God could use to bless others in this way?

Is it possible to see this hospitality endeavor as a service to Christ, rather than to man?


Pondering said...

Thanks for this. A few years back my daughter asked me "What would you do if Jesus showed up at your door?" I told her, I would do the same thing I do when anyone shows up unannounced: I would send you kids to the door to stall him while I rushed around like a mad hen, stashing the dirty laundry & the pile of papers that's all over my table. Made me think, do I need to work on keeping my house company ready, or on my pride? Either way, it would be so much better to be able to have people over without the usual 4 hours of cleaning. Now why do I show my guests so much more respect than I show my family?

Molly Green said...

This is a great post!

Thanks so much for your sweet comments on my blog. I'm anxious to hear if the menu planning is a big help. I know it sure helps me.

momstheword said...

Lovely post. I've talked to several people who want to entertain but they let the size (or the state) of their house stop them.

We are to practice hospitality. Just welcoming people into our homes, even if they aren't perfect. Even if the food isn't perfect! Most people come for the company, not the food and not the home!

Laura said...

What a wonderful post! I know that sometimes in our efforts to appear "perfect" we forget to be gracious! Thank you for the reminder!

Mrs. Parunak said...

Great post! This was something I prayed about a lot when I was first married because my husband is very naturally hospitable. He LOVES to have people over, is a GREAT conversationalist, and is an expert at finding things to pull out and share. Then there was me. I realized that while we may have different personalities, that God wants everyone to be hospitable, even the shy ones who think they don't know how. So I started praying, hard, and practicing. My husband likes to try to have someone over at least once a week, so I just dove in, emotional wreck though I was. I knew it was the right thing to do. I was delighted when after around six years of doing my best, a new lady at our church said, "I think the Parunaks' spiritual gift is throwing parties." She said, "the Parunaks," not just my husband! God is very good.

Jena Webber said...

Thanks everybody! I couldn't find the Pondering or Lara blog, but thanks anyway.

lauraelizabeth4@outlook.com said...

We were inspired recently by a young newly married and childless couple who invited our family of five over for dinner. I thought it was so cool - they had games for the children and included all of us in conversation - even my strong and silent type husband. We were so inspired that we had a big family of six over to OUR tiny home (900 sq feet) - sat 11 people down to a nice meal. Reaching out to others really does inspire more reaching out. :) Especially when your hospitality is not *perfect*, just loving.

Rina said...

This is a great post - it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately, as I'm naturally more of an introvert (in real life, that is, not on my blog!) I used to get so nervous having people over - I made myself and everyone around me miserable. I wanted my house to be spotless, my kids to be perfect, the food to be amazing and all because I was terrified of what someone might think about me, if they came to my less-than-perfect house. A few months ago, however, God really taught me a valuable lesson. He showed me that having people over is my opportunity to minster to THEM. Rather than focus on MYSELF, and my house, and what they're going to think about ME, this is a time when I need to be thinking about THEM. And for me, that means letting the house slide and instead being relaxed and happy about their visit, rather than stressed. Thanks for this wonderful post - I love reading your blog and gleaning from your wisdom in regards to things like making friends (I didn't comment but I LOVED those posts), and hospitality. Sometimes just visiting here is enough to give me a new outlook on things!

Jena Webber said...

Oh Rina, you made my day. HUGS. That's why we do it--to encourage others. You have valuable gifts also..don't be afraid to come out of your shell and share them with the world.