Hospitality is a lost art. People meet at restaurants or coffee shops instead of homes to socialize. I believe that in doing this we are missing out on an important ministry and opportunity…the call to hospitality in our homes. 1 Peter 4:9 instructs us to show hospitality to others and to do so without grumbling. 1 Timothy 5 tells us the hospitality is one of the qualifications for a widow to receive financial support from the church! Repeatedly we are called to serve one another in love, which is the essence of hospitality.
This week I was discussing chores and keeping the house clean with First Born who is now 10 and she said, “It is good to keep the house clean and picked up all the time because you never know who might come over when!” It was a totally proud moment for me because not only did she “get” why we keep the house generally clean and picked up, but she was also opening her heart to the idea that we should be hospitable and that it is a good think for people to be in our house.
Hospitality is more than just a clean house and fancy food though. It is creating an environment where people are comfortable. We always say, “The first time you visit our house you are a guest, after that you are family!” We want people to be comfortable hanging out at our home, where that happens to be. Whether in Ohio, Taiwan, or North Carolina, we have always opened our home to friends and family on a regular basis.
While I love entertaining and putting on elaborate dinners with beautifully decorated tablescapes, I realize that hospitality is so much more than that. A beautiful table is meaningless if my guests do not feel comfortable to enjoy themselves or to grow through the experience. We must never allow all the preparations for hospitality (Martha) cause us to miss out on the more important relational experiences (Mary).
Additionally, we are called to not only show hospitality to our friends and family, but also to strangers. Hebrews 13:2 instructs us to show hospitality to strangers, because we might be entertaining angels. And Jesus himself encourages us to forego inviting friends to dinner, in favor of the poor, sickly, and others who cannot return the favor. ‘
The call to creating a hospitable home is a divine calling on our lives and we must proceed as such. This week we are going to take a look at some of the tips and tricks for the ministry of hospitality in our home.