by Diana Davis
Pop quiz! Seriously. Before you read this column, please write your answers to these questions about your home:
1. Approximate age of your home
2. Approximate square footage
3. Description of furnishings: New, nice or aged
4. Description of décor: Tres chic, average, subtly chic
5. Cleanliness rating: Eat-off-the-floor clean, clean but cluttered, danger alert
6. Cooking expertise: Five star chef, conscientious cook, burned toast
Now hold your test answer page up in front of you, and slowly tear the page right down the middle. You’ve just demonstrated an important fact. Whether you live in a one-room apartment or a twenty-room mansion, whether your home is decorated like a designer or a fishing lodge, and whether you’re a super chef or a hamburger-helper diva is not the point.
God’s Word instructs Christians to “pursue hospitality” Romans 12:13. Chase it down! Prioritize it. Look for opportunities, not for excuses. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Don’t neglect to show hospitality…” The repetition of that command demonstrates its importance.
Christians must share hospitality with one another. “Be hospitable to one another, without complaining” 1 Peter 4:9. Hospitality isn’t limited, however, to a circle of friends. Vigilantly seek out lonely, single, widow, hurting, or unconnected Christians. Initiate. Host your small group meeting or fellowship. Share your home during crises. New Testament believers spent lots of time fellowshipping, eating and praying with one another.
Scripture further instructs Christians to show hospitality to strangers (Matthew 25:35, Hebrews 13:2). View strangers through God’s eyes of love, and ask Him to prompt your response. Be hospitable to your neighbors. Practice hospitality during community crisis.
Need fresh ideas to get started on a relaxed lifestyle of selfless hospitality?
• Stay prepared. Stock a dorm-size fridge with cold drinks for teens. Freeze soups or casseroles. Keep ingredients for a quick meal in the pantry. If you have a guest room, keep it ready for guests. Stock balloons and crepe paper in a party box. Everyday hospitality is often unplanned.
• Don’t hide Jesus. Walk through your own front door right now and observe. Is there any clue that the person who lives here worships God? If not, add Scripture, Christian symbols, a Bible on the coffee table.
• Hospitality needn’t be formal. Coffee with friends after church can be as meaningful as a multi-course dinner. The point is to enjoy and know one another as Christian brothers and sisters, and to show God’s love through joyful hospitality.
• Celebrations provide hospitality opportunities. A baptism. A holiday. The longest day of the year (June 21). Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, promotion, citizenship, moving day, last day of school, and so on. Look for any excuse to show hospitality.
• Teach hospitality to your children. Help them enjoy welcoming their own friends and acquaintances to your home.
• Practice hospitality with purpose. Listen for opportunities to show God’s love or to pray for your guests. Chat about how God is at work in your lives. “Whatever you do…do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus” Colossians 3:17a.
Begin now. Find an hour of free time this week and call someone God has put on your heart to invite him or her for a cup of tea. That was easy, wasn’t it? When hospitality becomes an intentional part of your Christian lifestyle, God is honored. Pursue it. Practice it. Enjoy it.
Truthfully, it doesn’t take a lot of extra effort to add a plate to the dinner table. Go the extra inch. Or go the extra mile! Practice hospitality.
“Let your graciousness be known to everyone.” Philippians 4:5
© This column is adapted from Diana’s book, Deacon Wives (B&H Publishing) www.dianadavis.org