We live in a world influenced by social media. Picture perfect table settings and staged homes are nearly all I see when I scroll through Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Neat napkin holders and place cards are strategically set by the beautiful food that must have taken hours to prepare and to plate so meticulously. I haven’t even touched on the theme parties, showers and wedding receptions shown that could come right out of a Hollywood movie!
When I talk to others about it, they all seem to express the same underlying tone: that such things are not attainable, so why even try?
I remember taking one of those spiritual gifts tests when I was a teenager and scoring high in the "hospitality" category. While I am not sure how I feel about such tests (when I form a definite opinion, I'll be sure to share), it sparked an interest in me all those years ago.
What is hospitality, and why is it so important? Does it have anything to do with those picture-perfect tablescapes? Is everyone called to show hospitality, or is it just me?
The bible does have a few things to say about hospitality.
I looked just a few up (all verses are from the ESV).
- “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
- “...and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts” Acts 2:46
- “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” Matthew 25:35
- “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9
- "Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." Romans 12:13
- "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34,35
- "She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20
With the Bible being so clear on the importance of each of us showing hospitality, I felt it important to not only practice but help others do so as well. Today, I want to share with you some hospitality myths, and next week, I'll talk about some practical ways to show hospitality.
You have to have a perfect home to be hospitable
More important than an open home is an open heart and open hands. Your home does not have to look magazine-worthy but should be filled with genuine love.
Hospitality is not limited to our homes. We should constantly be aware of those around us, and meeting the needs that can be met.
Hospitality is to be extended to friends and family
Hospitality is for everyone.
Hospitality requires great amounts of time, meticulous planning, and the best version of myself
Hospitality requires vulnerability and obedience. Some of the best and most memorable visits are messy and unexpected. Sometimes showing hospitality is even unwanted! Although the practice of hospitality asks the sacrifice of our time, our needs and our resources, it is rewarded with great joy. There is not much that is more energizing and fulfilling than serving others. You just need to be willing!
Hospitality is synonymous with entertaining
There is no mention of Pinterest or picture-perfect table spreads in any definitions of hospitality. Of course, there is nothing wrong with making things beautiful for our guests, but is it true hospitality?
Remember: entertaining is to impress, but hospitality is to bless.
Hospitality is a spiritual gift
Hospitality can be risky, and is asked of all of us (remember those verses above?). While some of us may find it easier to do than others, we are all called to show Christ's love and hospitality - gift or not, it can be (and should be!) a part of our lives.
Hospitality is merely about sharing a meal or a bed
Strive to do more than just offer a meal or a bed. When we are hospitable, we reach others in a personal and intimate way. Be intentional about who you reach out to; being aware of those around you and their needs plays a huge role in this. Think of the lonely. Think of the unloved. Think of those who need serving. Be bold and think of those you can help draw closer to Jesus. Think about how your hospitality can affect the world!
Hospitality is for us to show God's love to others. God calls us to it, and the rewards are eternal. We have been blessed so we can bless others. Withholding hospitality will hinder our joy.
How do you show hospitality? We would love to hear about it!
Next week, I'll be discussing some practical ways we all can show hospitality!