As a newly wed, desperately trying to acclimate myself to the mysterious – in my mind – roles of homemaker and wife, I would shudder at the mere mention of hospitality. For my introverted and mostly private personality the thought of opening my home to others was not appealing. It has taken me several years feeling my way through these roles to learn what hospitality is not.
Hospitality is not showing off a perfectly kept home.
Hospitality is not about showcasing my Food Channel Network capabilities.
Hospitality is not serving guests with fine china and crystal goblets.
Hospitality is not only for people with big houses.
Hospitality is not about being an excellent conversationalist.
Hospitality is not about having a big budget.
Hospitality is not always written into the calendar.
Hospitality is not synonymous with entertaining.
The Bible has a very different definition of hospitality and tells us exactly what hospitality is.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:8-10
The biggest challenge that God has lain upon my heart through my journey to understand what hospitality is and is not, is that hospitality does not ask me to be impressive – with my home, with my food, with myself. Lay the measuring stick of perfectionism aside, and open your doors wide. Simply share with others what God has blessed you with – no matter what that is or looks like. When we choose to practice biblical hospitality we will soon learn that it is a lifestyle that spills from our heart.
Hospitality, just like all areas of our life, is an opportunity to be an example to our daughters. I do not believe that every area of homemaking has to be formally taught, we can just live it out in front of our children – our daughters, including them along the way. (I think it is best when it is caught rather than taught most times.) That is what I do with my four year old Cadi. It means that when a play mate is coming over, she helps me prepare her toy room, and we do so joyfully. I include her in preparing our home and food for our guests. Yes, this takes extra time, extra patience, extra diligence – we must be intentional. But if I am doing a biblical job in my modeling, she will not really be modeling me but rather Jesus Christ. After all He is whom I desire for my daughter to look like – not me.
Simple stated hospitality is loving people. When we welcome people into our home, when we serve them, when we delight in their presence, we are showing the world that we love people. While welcoming people into our churches is good; when we welcome people into our home we are welcoming them into a sacred, intimate part of our life. We are showing them love without expecting a reciprocal invitation. We are not performing. We are simply sharing our home, our food, and most importantly, we are sharing our lives.