My name is not on the cover of a dictionary (for good reason!). But if I were to define hospitality it would go something like this: an act of grace that is more about atmosphere than occasion; creating an environment of kindness and mutual respect in filling the needs of others.
What do you think?
But isn’t this courtesy typically reserved for holidays and strangers?
What if . . . What if I were to have hospitality practiced in our home, among our family members? Isn’t this exactly the atmosphere and attitude I want displayed among us? So why not start in small ways this season? Now that would make our Christmas simply grand!
Giving the loving gift of goodwill—in even the small details of caring for my family—is sure to make a great impact.
I jotted down six simple ideas as a starting point. (After prayer, that is.)
- I think it must be practiced with authenticity. I don’t think you can fake it. I think you have to exhibit a genuine spirit of grace.
- A simple frame of reference might help. I could use this standard as measure: Give to your own what you give to others.
- We will have to intentionally guard our words and attitudes. Rushing is enemy #1; stress, a close 2nd (especially at Christmas time!). (Some repentance may be required.)
- Learning to align priorities and letting the lesser go might help. Taking time to listen moves to the top of the list.
- Hospitality is best nurtured when we limit chaos. Organization, advance preparation, and good time management should be order-of-the-day.
- Remembering that I actually love these people might prove helpful! Shouldn't we be expressing this love toward one another as matter of priority?
Even though hospitality is a basic biblical principle, we see few examples of it. But there are enough to learn from. A few come to mind: the widow of Zarephath that showed kindness toward Elijah; Abigail and David; Lazarus, Mary, and Martha frequently opened their home to Jesus; Levi, the tax collector-turned-disciple. Why, even the innkeeper offered his stable. He didn’t have a room available to offer, but he gave what he had. And who could forget Mary?! She showed the ultimate hospitality.
And God, the Author of perfect and generous hospitality, has demonstrated the same toward us.
“But now in Christ Jesusyou who once were far awayhave been brought nearby the blood of Christ.[Eph 2:13]
Not only did He draw near to us—by coming in the flesh to walk among us in the God-Man, Jesus Christ—but He tore the separating veil and invited us to approach Him and He shed His blood to draw us ever near.
Jesus depended on hospitality during His entire earthly life—from conception to even a borrowed grave. He knows very well just how important it is. And He stands at the door of your heart knocking to enter and make your heart His home. Will you extend to Him some hospitality?
Whether for important guests or among our small family, hospitality is a way to create in our homes an atmosphere of loving grace.
Hospitality is a matter of the heart. Mold ours, God, to exhibit Your grace.