Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Your Home: A Hub for Biblical Hospitality

As believers in Christ, the Bible gives us the command (which actually in my mind is a great privilege) to show hospitality to others.

The reason we don't often see hospitality as a pleasure or a privilege is because we often look at it from a worldly viewpoint, rather than a Biblical one. I know that the best way to stress myself out when we're having guests is to start thinking about things I should do to impress my guests. This is not pleasurable to me. This turns me into a grouch. Watch out, family.

That is not the portrait of a woman exhibiting Biblical hospitality. That is the portrait of a woman whose husband and children will likely look at her with disdain and see her as a hypocrite as she pours favor and kindness out on her guests but barks orders at her family behind the closed doors. Guilty as charged.

In our minds, we often picture hospitality as a large home with plenty of spare bedrooms to share, lots of food that had taken hours and hours to prepare, lots of entertainment available to keep our guests busy, etc., etc.

However, that is the worldly viewpoint of hospitality.

To show Biblical hospitality, we simply must start with a heart that cares for others and is so full and aware of Christ's love for us that we simply must share that same love with those around us.

Biblical hospitality has nothing to do with the thread-count of your sheets, a basket heaping with goodies for your guests, chocolates on their pillows at night, or a huge gaming system and an ample supply of games to entertain your guests.

We just need to be willing to ask God to bless what we do have and then be willing to use it to bless others.

Hospitality does not require an abundance of money. If it did, God would not have commanded it. The fact that He commanded hospitality to be shown by His children, shows that it is something we are all able to do, whether low-income or wealthy, whether we live in a trailer or a 4000 sq. ft house, whether we drive a twelve-year old car or a brand new Lincoln.

My Ukrainian grandma used to tell me all the time about her mom (whom I never met because she was taken by breast cancer when my grandma was still rather young.) She said that her mom would give a person the shirt she was wearing if that person needed it or liked it.

That's true Biblical hospitality. Showing kindness, showing love, showing a deep-rooted care and concern for others that grows from the awareness of our Father's love for us.

When we have a grasp on how much His love for us truly is, we can't help but want to make ourselves vessels of His love to others. It's the natural reaction to deep gratitude.

He gives. He loves. So we must do the same. Not because He forces us to do so. Rather, because we are so full of Him that He must pour out from us to bless others. He can't be confined. He is too great.

So, how can we use our homes as hubs for Biblical hospitality?

...making meals in our kitchen and delivering them to elderly neighbors or friends who just had a baby

...inviting others to break bread with our family around our home's table

...offering up rooms (or even a sofa) to a friend who is passing through the area

...hosting missionaries visiting your church overnight

...walking across the street to the new neighbor (or the neighbor you've never made the time to meet before) and inviting her and her children over for coffee or lunch

...offering your home up an evening each week or month for other women to meet together to fellowship

...inviting the confused, seeking teen in to talk with you ~ mentoring

...offering to mentor the newly-wed bride over hot cups of coffee

...starting a Bible study for the young girls in your church's youth group; inviting them in to your home were they can really get to know you and visa versa

...using some of your free moments to send personal notes of encouragement via good-old postal service; love from your home (and your hand) to theirs

...inviting the young, harried mother who really just needs to get out for awhile over for some good conversation while the children play together

...hosting foreign-exchange students or orphans through orphan-hosting programs

...making your home a "mostly" open-door policy (I say mostly because even your family unit needs time alone to remain strong and connected) for your children's friends

...using your home to teach the principles of hospitality to your children so that they, in turn, will grow to practice it as well

God has blessed us with our homes. They are from His hand alone.

Yes, we may have worked hard and by the sweat of our brow to build our homes and afford our homes, but ultimately all the provisions we received for our homes are from His hands and are His gifts.

And, boy, could He really use our homes for His glory! And He wants to! Our homes have so much potential to be a blessing to others. We just need to be willing to destroy any preconceived worldly views and intimidation, and focus on showing hospitality in light of the Gospel.


Laura said...

hey amber...i appreciate your thoughts on hospitality and have enjoyed all of your blogs about this subject. thanks for your encouragement and simple ideas!

Libby said...

I need to remember this...its not about trying to impress the people that you invite over. That is so easy to get caught up in... Great post!!

Ryan and Carly said...

this is a beautiful post spurring us to use our gifts, resources, and hearts for God to serve. thank you!!

Carly @ ryandcar.blogspot.com

Unknown said...

Great post--I totally agree on this! Thanks!

Becca@Grout Cleaning Melbourne said...

Two thumbs up to this. It's very encouraging and full of love. Thanks for sharing these biblical thoughts.