By Janet Price
We are about to enter into a great time of family and friends getting together. Holidays provide a reason to stop and do those things that connect us and have some fun together. Hospitality is much- needed in our society.
I wonder what it would be like if we purposed to do that kind of thing on a regular basis throughout the year. I’m not suggesting we celebrate some kind of holiday every month, but the time with family and friends is so important. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion, but just getting together on a personal level. There is something to be said about visiting with someone in their own home. It brings a little connection and closeness to the relationship, but only if it’s a relaxed atmosphere.
The Bible encourages us to find ways to connect like this. Hospitality is written about in the New Testament as something all believers should practice and as a requirement for leaders. (I Tim 3:2, Romans 12:13, Titus 1:8, I Peter 4:9) It’s a biblical command for believers for a reason.
God knows we need each other! We need each other more than saying hello on Sundays. We need REAL, HONEST relationships. We need to see each other live life and keep each other accountable. Sometimes it can be something as simple as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a cup of coffee, but it can be used to encourage, to listen, or to teach something new.
Our society is always at a fast pace. Our lives run from work, to school, to sports, to music and back again. Church activities can even be too much at times. Learning balance for your family is a constant challenge. In that challenge, we also need to add the balance of relationships. As Christians, God wants us to be intentional in relationship. This is how we truly have effect. It’s in the honest, open conversations over dinner or dessert that can open up hearts to hear.
One of the greatest hindrances to this idea (beyond our schedules) is that people tend to think they have to do something elaborate when preparing dinner or having guests. This is just that—a hindrance! It really has no truth to it whatsoever. People don’t mind imperfection. In fact, most rather enjoy seeing that others don’t keep perfect houses or fix perfect meals all the time. When you are genuine in wanting to minister to someone or just get to know them, most enjoy being the recipient of that. They don’t mind paper plates or a simple meal. It’s nice to bring out your best once in a while, and use what you’ve been given. But, if time has not permitted or “life” happened to redirect—it’s okay. It’s also okay to plan for the casual.
It’s a shame that we let ourselves as women get worked up over the details of the “stuff” instead of people. I have found myself there and had to stop and remind myself why I’m doing this. The main point is sharing your home and making others know they are welcome. Really, the only necessary ingredient is a sincere heart that is not out to impress, but to show love. I even had a person tell me once how special it was that I just laid out a paper towel with a sandwich. She felt at home because I wasn’t stressing about certain dishes. It’s important to relax!
Practicing hospitality is in our homes, but it’s also a mindset that is displayed in our behavior in all situations. Asking someone to join you for lunch from work can be an act of hospitality. It’s really a worldview or mindset that looks out for the care and concern of others. John Piper says, “Grace is the hospitality of God to welcome sinners not because of their goodness but because of His glory.” When you think about it, the ultimate act of hospitality was Jesus Christ dying for sinners in order to make them members of His household of faith. If you have found Christ, you have found a home! Isn’t it a privilege to share what He’s given you to encourage others to know that amazing truth.
Take the plunge! Have someone over this week, you’ll love it!