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A Heart for Hospitality

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

January 30, 2023

vintage-paper-heart-valentine

A recent trip to Hobby Lobby with my hubby reminds me that Valentine’s Day is not far away! The seasonal aisles play temporary home to the lovely paper plates, kids crafts, and various and sundry decorations. An otherwise strange combination, the pinks, reds, and whites blend together in their Valentine trio, and immediately our minds think of the holiday of love.


As I contemplated what to write about in honor of this “beloved” holiday, my mind immediately turned to having a heart for hospitality.


What does it mean to be hospitable?


At the risk of sounding too academic, Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines hospitality as “The act or practice of receiving and entertaining strangers or guests without reward, or with kind and generous liberality.”


Simply put, hospitality is welcoming others into my life and home so that I may serve them and be a blessing to them. Personally, I believe the best place to show hospitality is in my own home where I have the most resources available at my fingertips to best serve my guests. Also, by welcoming people into my home, I allow others into my personal sphere which in essence shows humility and deference to others.

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Why should I be hospitable?


Though no specific mentions are made about hospitality in Proverbs 31, I believe this godly lady would have been the epitome of gracious hospitality. She had a heart for the poor, and her home always blessed others beyond just the inhabitants.


If you will allow me, I will share one verse from scripture that encourages all believers, whether in the ministry or not, to have a heart for hospitality.


I Peter 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.


All believers should cheerfully receive guests with the intention of helping and nourishing those guests. The little phrase “without grudging” implies that some were not demonstrating hospitality with willing hearts, and lest I judge those early believers, there are times when my heart sighs about someone coming over.

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Obstacles to hospitality


You may give mental assent to what hospitality is and why we should exercise hospitality, but you may say, “Ashley, I just can’t do it! I have too many problems in my life!” Maybe some of your concerns fall into one of these categories.


1. My home is not nice enough.

2. My home is messy and/or dirty.

3. I do not have time.

4. I have young children who constantly make messes.

5. I can’t afford to have others over.


How to Overcome Those Obstacles


Let’s take the above five concerns and think about some solutions together! If God commands us to do something, He will always make a way for us to obey.


1. My home is not nice enough.


You have the home that God gave you! Be thankful for it, and do not be ashamed of your home. I struggled with this excuse for a good while. My husband and I live in a very affluent area of the USA, and our home is simple compared to the average lifestyle of those in our area. Insulting comments (even from people close to me) about my home have cut me deeply and caused me to shy away from hosting. But with God’s help, I have learned to see my home through eyes of gratitude, and when hurtful comments are spoken, I gently speak truth and ask others to view my home with respect. Simply put, if someone keeps criticizing my home, I then move on to someone else to minster to!


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2. My home is messy and/or dirty.


This reason is truly paralyzing for some people. You may genuinely not be ready for hosting others yet, and that is okay, friend! Take a deep breath and take one step at a time. If your home is in a desperate state, I highly recommend Dana K. White’s blog https://www.aslobcomesclean.com/ and her book How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind. At the back of the aforementioned book, Dana gives a very simple plan to bring your house out of disaster status and into livable status. If I can encourage you in one simple way to get ready for guests—get rid of stuff! Purge…and purge constantly. Your home does not have to be perfect, but a reasonably clean home shows consideration for guests.


3. I do not have time.


It’s so easy to think I do not have time for hospitality! This reason perhaps resonates the most closely with my stage of life. I am very task oriented, not always relationship oriented, to my shame. So having people over is not usually my first “go to” for entertainment but rather something I like to plan and schedule. But you know something? Every time I have people over to my home, I enjoy the fellowship and am so grateful for friendships. Even spontaneous visits have been such a blessing! People are the most important “thing” in life. Once I start to value people, I will begin to see the value of hospitality. Hospitality is a way for me to express that “I love you and you are important to me! You are important enough for me to set aside my agenda to make time for you.”


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4. I have young children who constantly makes messes.


I am in the thick of this stage of life! No sooner have I cleaned something up than my children have come behind me with a trail of crumbs and chaos. If you have young children, loosen your expectations for hosting. It’s okay if the house isn’t perfect! Chances are whoever you are hosting has had children or cared for children at some point, and he or she will empathize with the messiness.


5. I can’t afford to have others over.


One of my sweetest and most cherished memories as a new bride was going over to a dear family’s house after church on Sunday nights. About 4 or 5 couples gathered at this one family’s house each Sunday night, and we all took turns bringing the main dish while the others filled out the meal with sides. None of the couples had a lot of money, but somehow there was always enough food and plenty of fellowship. That dear hostess impacted my heart for eternity, and the Lord used her and her simple yet beautiful home to show me what true Christian hospitality is---loving others even though I may not have much. Hospitality doesn’t have to be fancy, and if you have a heart to serve, God will make a way for you to serve through hospitality.

 

Dear friend, you don’t have to have fine china and filet mignon to show the love of Christ to someone else. Even a pizza supper on paper plates can have a tremendous impact in another’s life and encourage his or her heart!


Happy hosting!


Love,

Ashley




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