Thursday, November 21, 2013
A Hospitable Heart
Hospitality is an area I struggle with because I feel if everything isn't perfect, I can't invite people to my home. I appreciated this article with a focus on biblical hospitality, especially with the holidays coming up.
Out of the Ordinary: A Hospitable Heart
by Persis at the Out of the Ordinary blog:
I was recently convicted about my hospitality or lack thereof. I find it intimidating because I associate it with having a large home, a big dining room table, a love for decorating and cooking, and being an extrovert. Based on this ideal, which is largely a product of Martha Stewart phobia and Pinterest insecurity, I've failed because I don't fit any of those categories very well. So I guess I have an easy out, right? No. The Word won't let me off the hook that readily:
"Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." Romans 12:13
"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." 1 Peter 4:8-10
Notice the Bible says nothing about the picture-perfect quality of the hospitality, but it does talk about loving and serving the saints. And this is where my problem lies. I've been focused on the outward and lost sight of what drives hospitality - the heart.
When I think about God in terms of hospitality, He is the ultimate host of hosts. We weren't fit to sit at His table, and what does He do? He sends His Son to bear the punishment for the sin that separated us. Jesus lived the life we could never live so we could stand before God clothed in His righteousness. We aren't even invited as guests for a bit and then sent on our way. God has adopted us as His own to live with Him forever.
So if I keep the gospel in the forefront, then hospitality is nothing less than showing God's generosity in Christ to others.
This is freeing, isn't it? It frees me from keeping up with the Marthas because there's something greater I can offer than the fanciest gourmet meal or the poshest home. God has poured out His love into my heart, and by His grace, I can share that same love even if it's with a cup of cold water in Jesus' name. This also frees me from the comparison trap. You may be able to prepare a wonderful feast for 50 and a 9 x 13 tater-tot casserole may be more my style. But if our hands are fueled by God's love in our hearts, that's what matters.
And if I may say so, it's a good thing.