“Hospitality is becoming an almost forgotten Christian virtue in our style of life today… In the New Testament, however, hospitality was a distinctive mark of Christians and Christian communities.” ~Alexander Strauch
That is the quote for today over at Joyfully Living where many are gathering to discuss the quote and what it means to them.
I wish I had more time to do this topic justice, but I have had a very busy morning. Let me briefly share some things that I have done. After getting the kids to school, I vacuumed out the car, came home and scrubbed the spots in the carpet of the car, mopped my whole house, cleaned bathrooms, vacuumed rugs, washed sheets and other laundry, vacuumed. I have unloaded my fall decorations and put them out and have a ham and sweet potato dish ready to go into the oven for supper. I feel great, my house is showroom clean, a fabulous dinner is ready to go and now I get to blog!
So, speaking of hospitality, I feel absolutely ready to be hospitable. Isn't that what hospitality is, a showroom clean house, great supper etc.? I used to think so. In fact I would drive my family crazy at times. We generally do a big cookout for the kids birthdays and invite the family - about 30 people. I would clean all day, prepare the food. Holler at the kids if they moved, breathed or touched the sliding glass doors! Then after the party, the house was in the same condition before I did all the work, I was tired, grumpy and the kids were often nursing hurt feelings from me.
It soon became apparent, this is not hospitality. I purchased a book - A Life That Says Welcome - by Karen Ehnam. A quote from her book revamped my ideas of hospitality. "There is a huge difference between "entertaining" and offering hospitality. Entertaining puts the emphasis on you and how you can impress others, offering hospitality puts the emphasis on others and strives to meet their physical and spiritual needs so that they feel refreshed, not impressed when they leave your home."
I was an entertainer, not offering hospitality. Hospitality is an attitude of the heart and can be turned into a lifestyle. Many Scriptures have been shared in other posts where we are clearly aware that God expects us to be hospitable. There was great fellowship and bonds with the early Christians as a result of fellowshipping together in their homes. Hospitality can be looked at as an overflow of warmth and welcome that comes from our heart with concern for others. If we practice it enough, it can become an extension of us and a desire to think of and honor others.
Hospitality is not always the same. It can be a nice prepared dinner, or while you are sitting down to a peanut butter and jelly, someone comes, invite them in and offer what you have. It can be your reaction to the child down the road who comes to play and needs a drink or a kind word. It can be the day your house is a disaster and someone drops in. - (this will usually be someone from church or a family member from your husband's side!!! ) Show them this is what "real life" looks like and overlook the mess and sit down with them and visit! Hospitality is being gracious to your guests - whoever they are! That will set you and your home apart and make it a special place to visit!