Showing Hospitality by Being Present
Welcome to this lovely Friday Morning! Every Friday morning, we are continuing a conversation about hospitality and homemaking. I believe that hospitality is more than beautiful home decor, fancy table settings, and delicious foods. I believe that homemaking is more than cleaning schedules and making various foods from scratch. My hope and prayer are that, together, we discover that hospitality and homemaking are true ministries and practical ways to love our neighbors.
On this lovely morning, I am so thrilled to welcome today's guest writer in our hospitality and homemaking series. Meet Vanessa from Christfollower85!
Hospitality is outdated. Right? No? Maybe? Do people still invite others over and cook a feast from scratch that they can enjoy in a gloriously clean home with beautiful décor and individual customized place settings, all with a smile on their faces? Is that what you do? NO????? really! Is that what you think I do?
The answer is No I don’t.
I have a beautiful family and we live in a lovely apartment. But it’s lived in and looks like it. We have toys and play doh all over the floors. All the floors. Bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, living room. I have things on my kitchen counters. Appliances, cereal boxes, a box of macaroni and a box of soup (unopened). Almost every day some toy finds its way there as well. The dishes are in the sink until after the kids get to bed. My home is clean but it is not spotless. My décor consists of paintings (done by the said children) on walls, 3D puzzles on flat surfaces and dollar store vases with dollar store flowers. I love my home but I don’t think it’s beautiful enough to have people over. Even though I want to.
Related: An On Time God
For many, this would be a major obstacle. But for the grace of God and the example of my grandmother, this would be me. I’ve learned from her and she’s learned straight from the Bible. I still open my home, my heart and give of my time and attention. I’ve been burnt often. I’ve been embarrassed often (by the state of my home and the state of (un)dress of my children!). I’ve felt guilty often about not doing enough, not cleaning enough, not being a good enough hostess, not cooking enough.
Can I just say, my sister, that all of the above is a lie? You are doing enough. You clean enough. You are a good hostess. You cook enough. There is no standard that you fall short of. You are a child of the One True King. He died for you. He lives again. He is coming for you again. He knows your name. And He loves you for who you are.
Being Hospitable/Hospitality is defined as friendliness, kindness, generosity among others. You can read a whole list here.
That can be in the home and outside as well. It means being there for someone in their hour of mourning. Giving of yourself to meet a need. Being willing to listen. Being a safe place for a friend. Sometimes it’s your time or money or personal space. Sometimes it’s your heart and your mind. Whatever it is, it is being like Jesus. Doing what Jesus did.
In the Bible, among the other well-known examples of hospitality, we see that Jesus took time to speak to people. People who were hurting, people who were outcasts, people who needed hope. He met them where they were. He gave them what they needed when they needed it. He was the ultimate personification of Being Hospitable.
With the (Samaritan) woman at the well, Jesus spent a long time speaking to her. His disciples went to town to buy food. Jesus sat down at the well to rest. The woman walked in the other direction away from the town, towards the well, in the middle of the day. Most women would go to collect water in the morning (early) or evening when the day was cool. They would exchange news and gossip and encourage and build each other. It was a social situation, but this woman was excluded. Her lifestyle made others uncomfortable and so what was new, unknown, alien, they excluded. Just like we (tend to) do now.
What did Jesus do? He spoke to her gently and kindly and without condemnation. He spoke hard truths and revealed shameful secrets, but He did so in such a hospitable way that her life was changed. She was so renewed and loved and accepted that she chose to speak openly and unreservedly to her whole town. Because of one woman who no one spoke to, an entire town came to know Christ.
Another time, the risen Jesus appeared to 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus. They were heartbroken, dejected and were mourning. Their hope of salvation and of redemption has just died and to their mind, there was nothing left. Jesus appeared to them and spoke to them gently and then taught them from the Scriptures.
Wouldn’t you have loved to be there? Listening to Jesus teach them from the Scriptures about Himself would have been something to hear.
How was this being hospitable? Jesus knew they needed hope, they needed to be filled with joy again, they needed to be made whole. So…. He gave them the whole picture. He showed them where it was written that He needed to give His life for the sins of the world and then take it up again. So, He met them where they needed Him and He gave them what they wanted. In the end, after reaching Emmaus, they persuaded Jesus to go in with them and share a meal with them.
Wouldn’t you want that for yourself? That people are so encouraged by being around you that they don’t want to be parted from you? I know that I do.
So, to me being hospitable isn’t really about opening my home, though that can be a part as well. It is about being present, being there, being in the moment with someone who is desperate and giving them my best gift.
Give your best gift
A mentor very affectionately reminded me to give my best gift and then to be kind to myself (I would beat myself after, that I should have spent more time, given more, done more, cooked more). If my best gift in the moment that my son is trying to run across the parking area is 5 minutes, give 5 minutes. If all I can do is say Hi and wave, do it with joy (and remember the person’s name, it means a lot to them). If I can, give a picture that my child drew, to a neighbor. If I can, bring or make them something.
Related Post: Mothers in the Line of Jesus
In this day of nuclear families and neighbours whose faces/names we don’t know, all people are looking for, is for someone to give them the time of day. To notice them. To listen to a wounded heart. To smile.
Our hospitality can extend to speaking to a mother at a different season than ourselves and encourage them.
It can involve speaking to the owner of the local grocery store who’s from another country with kindness and respect and a smile.
It can be paying the tab for the person behind you in the drive-through lane at McDonald’s.
It might look like saying something complimentary (and sincere) to the cashier at Kroger’s while using her/his name.
All of us are lonely and isolated and needy and hurting. All we can do is to be the Smile of Jesus, the hands of Jesus and the love of Jesus to them.
Vanessa Samuel is a wife and a mother. Her family have lived in 3 different states for her husband’s work. She’s constantly putting down roots and pulling them up again. Her one Rock, through it all, has been Her Saviour, Her God and Her LORD. She loves writing and her desire through her blog is to help people discover the beauty and the wonder found in Scripture, and so to turn their eyes upon The Author. You can read more at christfollower85.wordpress.com or follow her on twitter @vanessasamuel85 .