Hospitality

Monday, November 12, 2012

Since moving into our house Ty and I have had a lot of conversations about hospitality.  We made a commitment even before we got married that we were going to be intentional about reaching out to others and welcoming them into our home; regardless of the size or condition of that home.  We have been very blessed in that we are currently able to stay in a home with two bedrooms.  We recognize that this is not normal for a couple of our... er.... current economic standing, and thus we also recognize it as a gift from God that we want to use for His glory.

As we have attempted to make people feel welcome in our home we have come to realize that there are two types of hospitality which we hope to demonstrate. 

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The first is the type that prepares.  This hospitality plans and awaits and searches pinterest for far too long at work.  It anticipates the arrival of guests, it cooks delicious meals, it sets the table, it washes the sheets.  The best example I can think of this side of hospitality is found in Mrs. Morrow, who is one of my best friend's mothers.  Every time we visit Mrs. Morrow we are greeted with slippers, welcome baskets filled with toiletries and treats, and a warm meal.  It's obvious every time we visit that she has worked to make us feel at home and loved.  This kind of hospitality shows the side of Jesus portrayed in John 4:2-3 in which He explains that He will "prepare a place for [us.]"

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The second is the type that accepts without condition.  This type of hospitality was exemplified by my parents.  I have vivid memories of various people knocking on our door in the middle of the night because they had nowhere else to go.  One was a neighbor whose husband had beat her.  One was a family friend who relapsed. There were times when people would show up for dinner without warning. There was a child in the neighborhood who would walk through our front door in the middle of the day because his parents refused to pay attention to him. I had friends all throughout high school who would get into fights with their parents and just needed a safe place to stay for a couple hours. My parents never turned anyone away; regardless of the cleanliness of the house or how much food had been made or whether or not there were enough beds in the house, my parents welcomed everyone into their home with open arms. Sometimes this meant that our guests had mac n' cheese for dinner and had to sleep on an air mattress in the living room, which was a disaster because it hadn't been cleaned in a month. It didn't matter. Though there was no preparation or anticipation, there was acceptance. This type of hospitality shows the side of Jesus portrayed in Matthew 11:28 in which He says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

I've noticed that it can be difficult to embrace both of these types of hospitality.  Most of us probably lean more toward one than the other but by no means are they mutually exclusive.  I'm working on sharpening my skills with the first one, and I'll have a good chance to practice on Saturday!

What are some ways that you practice hospitality toward others?

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