Thursday Thoughts: Christ-like Hospitality

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Yesterday in our ed-staff meeting, one of the pastors at my church brought up the fact that one of the times the NT uses the word example is when Christ shows the example to the disciples of service: wraps a towel and washes their feet.  The display of service, grace, unmerited reward, purity.

I started thinking about how I use my home for hospitality.  I can make all the excuses I want: time, small apt, shared apt, you name it – but hospitality is still a command that we need to follow.  This isn’t going to be a blog post on the hospitality commands or all the verses that talk about it – but more the practical and attitude of showing hospitality in your home.

1.  It is not about cooking fancy foods.  I remember having a couple in my home back after Christmas.  I shared with my brother while I was home that I was nervous about what to cook for them because she is a personal chef and he is just a great cook.  He said they would probably just like a normal meal.  Well, God helped me figure out what to cook for them by causing snow to fall so I arrived home just an hour or two before their arrival.  I picked up a rotisserie chicken from HT, baked some sweet potatoes, roasted some green beans and mushrooms (love) and then created a little semi-homemade trifle dessert.  Simple, yet yummy.  But, I was still worried about what they thought.  Good thing they enjoyed it.

2.  It is not about impressing your guests.  I am the type with most people that I want to vacuum before they come over, make sure everything is in its place, etc.  But, I know the guests that I love because when they come over I don’t worry about if they see that my house is lived in.  I always need to be a good steward of what God has given me and not be lazy about picking up my home – but I do not need to bring out the dust rag and Pledge 30 minutes before you walk in my front door.  We need to be always ready to have anyone come in our home.  I know what a blessing it is for me to walk into a home of families I love and there are toys scattered everywhere, dishes in the sink, maybe things aren’t perfect – but neither is the guest!

3.  It is about showing grace.  It is always an opportunity to share with your guests the grace of God.  God has been so kind to me that I need to pass on those gifts and that grace to others.

3.  It is about comfort.  I want my apt to be a place of comfort for others now.  But, I think more importantly, I want that in my home one day – maybe as a family – maybe as a single – I want to have my home be a place of comfort, life, and ease.  I want people to come and be able to “make themselves at home” and come and go as they please.  I want my friends to have a home away from home, a retreat.  I have wonderful friends who have modeled that for me through the years, and I pray that I can be a blessing to others in the same way.  I was just mentioning to someone last night that I don’t want people in my home all the time, because we all need our downtime, our be by ourselves time, strictly family time – so there needs to be guidelines – but again, grace, Kim, grace.

4.  It is not about getting something in return.  We do not give so that others will give back.  We do not shower grace in anticipation of what we might get in the future.

5.  It is about having the mind of Christ.  I need to keep this in mind.  Christ wasn’t worried about if the towel wrapped around his waist was clean and pressed and smelled like lavender.  He wasn’t concerned with the floor being swept.  His one concern was teaching them humility and service.  I want that pressed into me when I have folks in my home – or when I have the ability to serve at a function.  The pastors I have the opportunity to serve with model this well: if we have a meeting with food – it is mostly the pastors that are the first to jump up and clear the tables of the plates and trash.  It still surprises me every time.  I am grateful for their humble hearts and their willingness to serve us.

I write these things out of conviction and out of yearning to be more Christ-like, not that I have this all together.  Again – this whole preaching the gospel to myself.  Knowing that to die to self is the only way to live to Christ.  And that is my gain.

Here are some hopefully helpful quotes from wise women that I hope will encourage you in your effort to proclaim the gospel in your hospitality:

“God urges us to deny ourselves, to lose our lives, and to give preference to others.” – Dorothy Patterson, BeAttitudes for Women

“The home may not (be) a place of luxury, but (hopefully it is) a place of community.” – Carolyn McCulley, Radical Womanhood

“Simplicity frees you to extend hospitality more easily and more often, so that it can become a true ministry of the Christian home regardless of other demands on your time and energy.” – Eilizabeth Skoglund, The Welcoming Hearth

“Cultivating a love for the home means acquiring practical skills and training so that you can intentionally make your home a mission field, not a museum.” – Carolyn McCulley, Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye (and just to add…this mission field does not only apply to having non-believers in your home – but I truly think it also means to have the Body in your home and show them Christ.)

I hope this post encourages you.  It has me.  Even as I put the final period.