May 26, 2011

To Be Hospitable

Last week family from out-of-state came over to visit.  That meant that meals had to be cooked, floors swept, dishes (as many as possible) washed and put away, and the yard mowed.  Of course there were other details that needed tending to as well.

But it was so nice to have the family over because I so rarely get to see them.  This year they brought along a special bundle... their first-born baby boy.  He was absolutely adorable!  But babies, especially new borns, need their sleep.  And the quietest room in the house is my bedroom.  So I offered it to them and baby.

He slept soundly on my bed for a good long hour and a half.  Enough time for his parents to eat a well prepared lunch and chat.  It was time that we will all remember fondly.

And now, six days after they left, I am so happy I took the time to prepare my room for guests.  And it hasn't been the first time that visitors have used my room as a haven.  Missionaries, friends, and even a stranger or two have all used my room as a place to rest and recharge.

I never thought of myself as a successful hostess but actually... I am.  And I realize now that I have been wrong in thinking I didn't do a good job at it.  I was tempted in the past to compare myself to how other women host visitors in their homes.  I saw how they cooked fantastic meals and how their homes always seemed so perfectly clean and tidy!

But it isn't the food or the stylish sophistication of any given space that makes people feel welcomed.  It is the quality of relationship you offer them.  It is the time you take to sit down and give them your undivided attention.  That simply can't be replaced by things. And it certainly can't be replicated.  The manner in which you give people attention is as unique as you are.  No one will relate to them in exactly the same way you do.  And that's what has taken so long for me to understand.

In the Bible we see how God, time and time again, has gone out of His way to be hospitable towards people.  Just look at Genesis.  God created an entire garden for one man and one woman.  He created all manner of life in the air, land, and sea for their enjoyment.  He gave them fruit from every tree imaginable and blessed them with His physical presence!

And in the New Testament we see how Jesus attracted huge crowds everywhere he went.  He always took time to encourage his disciples even when He was tired.  Jesus didn't hold back.  He served to the point of death.

So I guess what I'm trying to say through all of this is that if you have been someone who felt like they could never have people over to visit, or like you were somehow inadequate to host in any capacity, let me tell you that YES YOU CAN.  Tell God how you feel and then leave your worries with him.  Face your insecurities and start small.  Maybe just have people over for desert or an outside cook-out now that the weather is warm.  Ask God to give you creative ideas on how you can be a successful host or hostess.

Remember this truth: " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13

May God bless you in your efforts to become more gracious, more caring, more hospitable.


lgsquirrel said...

This is a wonderfully encouraging post. Thank you. Unfortunately, I do need to clean my house to an acceptable basic level before I can pick up your advice.


:D Mr. LGS I'm certain you will be able to do so in a more than satisfactory manner. But I understand too that once the stuff creeps out it can take time to put it all away again.

Chin up! ;)

Tracy said...

You make a really good point here; it really is about the relationship instead of having a home and food like something out of a magazine. I learned that first hand from a friend where I used to live; her house wasn't perfectly clean and the dishes weren't always all done when you arrived, but you knew you'd be listened to and loved and that kept us all coming back for more. I have to remind myself of this when I'm tempted to refrain from entertaining because things aren't all perfect.