How often do you take the opportunity to welcome someone into your home?
Is it a common occurrence, or does it involve an all out work-a-thon before allowing guests to come over? Honestly, many of us have over emphasized perfection while forgetting it’s about connection!
For as long as I can remember I stressed about the little things, the big things…everything! My family would attest to that if you asked them. But in the last year, God has been stirring this ministry of “hospitality” in my heart as well as Jeff’s. It’s something different than the perfection I always stressed to obtain. God is refocusing our attention to those He is placing in our lives – helping us focus on hearts, not houses.
Have you ever thought of hospitality as part of being a disciple of Christ? Jen Schmidt explains in her book, Just Open the Door, that Biblical hospitality elevates the guest instead of the hostess. It’s “freely giving of ourselves while granting others the freedom to be themselves.”
Rosaria Butterfield, author of The Gospel Comes with a House Key, states that those who live out hospitality see their home as God’s gift to use for His Kingdom. Through these books I have learned that Biblical hospitality strengthens those in Christ, and allows for the opportunity to lead those who don’t know Christ to a relationship with Him through sharing our lives together.
“Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
1 Thessalonians 2:8
To be honest, until recently I never viewed inviting people over as Kingdom work. Though Jeff and I love to entertain, it’s always with family and church friends that we are completely familiar with. We’ve never been in the habit of reaching beyond our comfort area.
But over the past several years, our pastor has made clear the necessity of Biblical hospitality. He opened our eyes to what is happening in the 21st century. Homes are built with smaller front porches and larger back decks protected by fences. We aren’t allowing people into our lives…unless we select them carefully. We’ve busied ourselves to the point that there is no time for relaxed evenings with neighbors and acquaintances. Sadly, many would consider that to be unproductive time. What has happened to our focus?
Let’s see what the Bible says about hospitality.
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)
➢ Strangers – anyone outside our circle of friends and family
“Above all, love each other deeply…offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:8-9
➢ Without grumbling – consider it a privilege to share God’s gifts
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:6
➢ Sacrifices – giving our best – time included
“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:13
➢ Saints – include God’s servants as well
Heather sent this picture to me recently while at Lifeway. She knows the burden Jeff and I have for inviting others into our lives. These tables at the entrance of the store are stocked with books etc. on the subject of hospitality (The two books I referenced are there as well!). Wow! Are you seeing the significance of Christians stepping out of their comfort zone? God is speaking to writers, leading them to encourage His children to be hospitable – to entertain strangers.
Let’s break this down to see what hospitality might look like for you
1. Invite New Acquaintances – Whether at church, work or play, look for opportunities to invite others over. Keep supplies on hand, or run by the store on the way home. The meal is not the focus. Connecting is our goal. It might be a game night with popcorn. The options are endless. If you are married I encourage you to get in the habit of inviting singles and couples. Our singles crave fellowship just like we do! Mix it up – couples, singles, young and old. We’ll give to and gain from every group.
2. Meet Someone Outside Your Home – Maybe you’re more comfortable to start your hospitality in a coffee shop or restaurant. Your invite might not even involve food. It might be an event, game or hike. That’s ok! Just set the date and make it happen. You might be surprised how receptive others will be to your invitation.
3. Take a Meal/Dessert To Someone in Need – Look for opportunities to bless others. They are all around you. Can I suggest something? If possible, it’s extra special if at least part of what you share comes from your kitchen, made by your hands. True hospitality is sacrifice. There are tons of delicious, easy recipes on Pinterest.
4. Host An Outdoor Gathering – Maybe you have lots of room outside. You might want to invite your neighbors over for a potluck, bonfire or outdoor games with desserts. Again, the focus is developing relationships. People need to see our sincerity before believing our faith.
5. Be The House Where Kids Gather – We always welcomed our kids’ friends. Keep snacks on hand and an open door. You will always benefit from knowing where your children are, what they are doing and who they are with. Your children should always look forward to being in their home and knowing friends are welcome. Their friends need to see a Christ filled home.
Is the important aspect of hospitality coming through for you? It ‘s face to face relationships. Technology will never suffice in developing friendships, allowing our faith to shine through. We will never share the gospel with our doors and hearts closed. True Biblical hospitality must come from the heart. We need to pray that we learn to love people right where they are. Then ask God to use us to help them move toward Christ. We welcome them into our homes and share our lives with them…and the love of Christ. That’s the goal.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Time to Unfold
- Start with prayer. Ask God to open your heart to Biblical hospitality.
- If you don’t know where to begin, read one of the many books on Biblical hospitality.
- Choose which type of hospitality you want to begin with.
- Make your plans and set your date.
- Start inviting! Enjoy showing your love for Christ in new ways!
Opening our hearts and door,
Debbie Earnest, a writer and speaker, is passionate about encouraging women as they deepen their walk with Christ. She especially loves to inspire women as they seek to enrich and strengthen their marriage unfolding God’s Word. For more information, check out Meet Debbie.