By Cindy Singleton
Even though my Bible reading constantly directs me to God’s instructions about hospitality, I find loopholes for myself.
When I read “do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb 13:2), I decide surely the Lord didn’t mean to make an angel sit on my outdated, lived-on couch!
And the command to “show hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9) couldn’t possibly apply if having a dinner party means cars will be parked all the way down the street!
Maybe when we get a new couch.
If only we had more parking.
I’m not sure anyone would come.
I’m an introvert. That means although I love people, I can find a million and one reasons not to initiate fellowship. I’d rather stay in my safe zone and wait for others to reach out to me.
In other words, give me an opportunity to stick my neck out and be hospitable, and I’ll find ten excuses not to!
A Heart for Hospitality
Maybe it’s the pandemic-induced isolation we’ve endured for far too long. No parties. No hugging. No impromptu invitations to coffee. Even an introvert like me can only take so many months inside a cozy comfort zone!
More than the pandemic, though, I believe my newfound desire for reaching out to others was brought on by the faithful work of the Holy Spirit. He’s been prodding me for some time, and reminding me that every single one of us can choose to be hospitable.
After all, isn’t hospitality non-negotiable for a Christian? In Christ, we have a new life, we’re welcomed into a global body of believers, and we attach ourselves to a local family of faith. How could any of that happen without Christian hospitality?
Jesus ate with sinners. He went to parties. He cooked breakfast. He’s gone to prepare a place for us. All of that sounds pretty hospitable to me.
Also, as believers, we’re commissioned to go and tell non-believers about the good news of Jesus Christ. How can we do that without Christian hospitality? We can’t make new friends, counsel a grieving coworker, or help someone in need, without a dose of hospitality.
I’ve had to remind myself that hospitality and entertaining aren’t necessarily the same thing. Hospitality is less about the pattern of my china and more about the condition of my heart.
How to Become More Hospitable
As I strive to develop a heart for hospitality, I’m focusing on four action points. Perhaps they’ll help you, too:
Open your heart.
Whether you have the gift of hospitality or struggle as an introvert like I do, we’re all called to be hospitable. First John makes it clear that if we love God, we’ll love other people. And one way we can demonstrate our love is by practicing hospitality.
If we’re creative, we can find plenty of ways to be hospitable. Inviting someone to meet us for coffee or hosting a potluck meal at church are great examples of reaching out to others.
Enlarge your circle.
We know every human being is made in the image of God and has divine value. Therefore, it’s important to seek out people who are different from us. There’s so much I’ve grown to appreciate about other women who are younger, older, more artistic, or less serious than I am.
Open your door.
Hospitality forces us to live transparently. When we open our homes, we open our hearts. Inviting people into our private lives means we choose intimacy even when our natural inclination may be to close ourselves off.
When I welcome guests to my dinner table, fellowship organically develops. There’s something about good food that encourages good fellowship. It doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal. Boxes of pizza are just as enticing.
No matter where we live, how old our furniture is, or whether we cook or order takeout, the Bible instructs us to “continue to show deep love for each other, for love makes up for many of your faults. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay for the night” (1 Peter 4:8-9, TLB).
Making a Difference Through Hospitality
Right now we’re still masked and forced to stay somewhat distant, but I’m making plans. So far I’ve made a list of several simple dinner menus to have on hand. I’ve also written down names of people I’d like to get to know better, starting with people in my church.
Most of all, I’m reminding myself of something I read lately that keeps me from stressing―“Hospitality is about connection, not perfection.”
We may never make a worldwide difference. But by practicing hospitality, we can connect to people with the love of Christ and make a difference in our tiny corner of the world.
Wife Step: Think of one practical step you’ll take to develop a heart for hospitality.
A long-time Bible student and teacher, Cindy Singleton is a wife, best friend to three grown daughters, mother-in-law to two pastors, and “CeCe” to eight grandchildren. She enjoys sharing her life experiences as evidence of God’s faithfulness. When she’s not visiting Disney theme parks or planning her annual Camp CeCe, Cindy can be found writing and serving women on her blog.
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