Hospitality -- Why Bother?
by Julie Adams
via Biblical Insights, Vol. 7, No. 5, May 2007
Why is it that the very idea of hospitality conjures up thoughts of fine china, matching napkins and a five-course meal? Perhaps it is our "Martha" mind that causes us to dread all that we think we have to do to show hospitiality. Then there are those Scriptures that don't give us any choice about it -- like Romans 12:13, "Pursue hospitality" or I Peter 4:9, "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." Ouch!
So what can you do ... or what should you do ... and why bother?
I would like to suggest that for the most part, it is our attitude that hinders us from following the commands, yes, commands of Scripture. It is not God's command we need to work on but our attitude in order to become compliant with His Will.
The Six "Bothers" of Hospitality
- Why Bother ... Sharing? Remind yourself that without your Creator, you would have nothing. Therefore, everything belongs to Him (Psalms 21:1). Use your home to welcome others, make it conducive to conversation and remember that you are blessed to even have a home.
- Why Bother ... Sharing? Don't we believe that all people have eternal value? Do we not expect to spend eternity with those who are with us now? Opening your home to those we love and to those we will learn to love should be a top priority. Don't be concerned that your "house" isn't good enough or everything doesn't match. It is the time together that people will remember.
- Why Bother ... Waiting? How many times have you told yourself that you will "practice hospitality when the new flooring is put in, the painting is done, the cups match, the kids are older, the table is bigger, the house is cleaner, we will have more (we are all waiting for that one!), quit my job, etc. The list of excuses is endless. The Hebrew writer (13:5) in structs us to "be content" with what we have. Some of us never learn to do that. Perhaps we need to look at our home through the eyes of the one we are inviting. They will sense that you are practicing hospitality because you are sharing your home and your heart -- not just your house.
- Why Bother ... I Don't Have Enough Money? Ever heard of the saying that you should make the most of what you have? It applies here. a cup of hot coffee, a glass of ice tea or even a bologna sandwich can be more than enough when your heart is right. Doing your best to follow God's Will is what matters. Sheets as tablecloths and dandelions in a coke bottle can make your table a welcome place for conversation.
- Why Bother ... It Isn't Perfect? I can imagine that we all have a story about being at someone's house when something funny happened. And, every time we see that "someone" we bring it up! The best of times are usually accompanied with laughter (Proverbs 17:22).
- Why Bother ... What's In It For Me? By inviting people into our homes we take our minds off of self and focus on others. Mark tells us (9:41) that when we offer a cup of cold water in His name because we belong to Him that we won't lose our reward. You can't want for more than that!
Let me suggest, too, that when you practice hospitality, you are teaching your children how to share and care for others. Get them involved when your are inviting people into your home. It is their home, too! And realize that hospitality should be a time when you get to know many others. Unfortunately, it is easy (and natural) to invite only our peer group ("clique") into our home. You may be surprised at how much you're missing out by not getting to know other people -- those who may not usually be invited. They may bring something into your life that could be a great blessing to you.
When you begin to see hospitality as an opportunity to find blessings and be blessed, you will seek ways to open your home and your heart to others. Offering hospitality to them is a way of honoring God by obedience to His commands. Make that extra effort to further your acquaintance with someone. In the end you will count your blessings for having done the right thing.