Hospitality

Does the thought of having people over stress you out? Maybe you break out into a sweat at the mere thought of someone “dropping by” unannounced or when someone asks you to host a small group at your house. Do you automatically search for a location for all of your planned events and birthday parties? If these are true of you, you might have CHAOS: Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome!

I understand that the struggle is real. Moms of today, especially stay-at-home moms, have some unspoken expectation to have perfect homes with perfect yards and perfect children sitting contentedly with their perfect little hands in their laps next to the perfect dog curled perfectly in his bed. But let’s get real: this is not the reality for most, if not all, moms of today. June Cleaver and Martha Stewart would be appalled at the apparent disarray of most of our homes. The truth is, we have a constant flow of traffic coming and going through our homes. Keeping up with the day-to-day busyness of life prevents us from keeping the neatly organized and perfectly functioning household that we feel is expected. So why do we so often ashamedly allow the imperfect-ness of our homes prevent us from offering hospitality to others? When we do that, we not only rob ourselves of blessing others, we actually rob the Lord of the opportunity to use our homes as a dwelling place where others can see Him.

“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.”

“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”

Matthew 25:35-40

When we open our homes to others, imperfections and messes and all, in essence we show God’s love to others. We are saying, “My house might not be perfect, but it’s a welcome place where you can find friendship and comfort.” Most people who come to our homes won’t even notice our messes. Have you ever actually heard someone comment about the dust on a ceiling fan or dishes in the sink at a person’s home? What you may have heard is about the time that was spent or the laughter that took place or the comfortable welcome that was received. Here’s a news flash: your friends and family members don’t have perfect homes either! (Okay, I know there may be the occasional person who judges, but we’re not talking about that person. She has enough insecurities of her own, and that is an entirely separate blog post!)

Check out 1 Peter 4:8-9:

Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another.

Love covers a multitude of sins. That is a remarkable promise! Love shown to others in our homes covers up all of that CHAOS and allows us to love our neighbor (friend, sister, pastor, teacher, stranger, mother-in-law, etc.) as ourselves the way God commanded in Matthew 22:39. When you obey this command, the only thing that awaits is a reward and blessing–the blessing of an afternoon spent with good friends or watching kids play or enjoying a shared meal, of connecting with new people and allowing them an intimate peek into our lives by sharing our homes and table.

Let’s not forget the ultimate act of hospitality that we see in the book of Luke:

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.  A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

Jesus explains to the Pharisee that her simple act described above is a show of great love. He was not impressed by the presumably elaborate meal that His host provided because it was done out of haughtiness and pride. The sinful woman was forgiven and He bid her to “go in peace” because she humbled herself and simply showed Him love.

Friend, your home, however small or messy or disorganized, is a gift from the Lord. Be a good steward of that gift by sharing it with others and don’t allow the voice of the enemy to prevent you from throwing your doors open wide in welcome to those we are called to love.

You never know, you might even find yourself in the company of angels when you open your door wide in hospitality.