The Heart of Hospitality: Cultivating an Attitude of Hospitality
Welcome to this lovely Saturday Morning! Every Saturday morning, we are continuing our 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 Erin from Perfectly Port Family!
Romans 12:13 is one of the most quoted scriptures in the bible when it comes to biblical hospitality. Yet for some reason, it wasn’t until I was researching for this post, that I stopped to ponder exactly what it hospitality is. I have missed the heart of hospitality.
So, what is hospitality and how can we cultivate a heart for it?
When people think of hospitality, they think of entertaining. Lovely tablescapes, maybe even a delicious meal, with a lovely home as a backdrop. Generally, people think hospitality is tied to the 4 walls we call home. I have thought that too. As a result, many people count themselves out at the opportunity to be hospitable because they don’t think they have the resources necessary to do the job well.
Hospitality is not about resources at all. We all have the opportunity to serve God and practice hospitality right where we are. Let me explain.
Hospitality is an Attitude.
One night, we were sitting in small group and our friends mentioned they were moving to Tennesee. They mentioned the husband would be staying behind for a few weeks to finish up his job. I felt God prick my heart to open our home to him. It became an internal battle of my flesh vs. spirit as I recounted the reasons why our home was not ideal and the timing was not right. Yet I knew God was calling me to an attitude of hospitality.
Abraham in Genesis 18:2-5 was sitting outside his tent when 3 passers-by needed some refreshment. He took them into his tent, provided water for their dirty feet and food for their hungry bellies but it wasn’t the food or the water or even the shelter that caused Moses to be hospitable. He had an attitude of hospitality.
If we look at the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42, Jesus reminds Martha that Mary understood the essence of hospitality as she sat at his feet, listening to him and caring for him. Mary had an attitude of hospitality. I believe Martha did too, but the bible says, she was distracted about the resources. I can relate as I toiled about my own resources and the decision I had to make about inviting our friend to stay. I got distracted from what the heart of hospitality is.
The root word of hospitality is hospes, words with the same root include hospital, hospice and hostel. When we think of those places we don’t think lavish dinner parties and lush places to rest. We think of places for weary people to find comfort. John 13:34 says “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Love for others is the heart of hospitality.
It’s not about homes, meals, or a place to rest weary heads. Those are tools we can use to express an attitude of hospitality but in and of themselves are are not hospitality. Don’t let the “stuff” distract you, hospitality is an attitude, expressed in an action and not measured by the tools we use.
So how do you cultivate an attitude of hospitality?
God promises that whatever He calls us to, he will equip us for. Ask God to broaden your understanding of what hospitality is and to shape an attitude of hospitality within you. Ask God to show you opportunities to exercise that attitude wherever you are. It might not even be in your own home.
Read your bible and see how Jesus demonstrated the heart of hospitality from talking with the Samaritan woman to going out of his way to help his friend Lazarus. Jesus had the attitude of hospitality everywhere he went.
Observe others in your life who exhibit the heart of hospitality, what do they do to make others feel loved and cared for. Reflect on times you have been shown hospitality, what made you feel cared for?
Now that you know that hospitality isn’t about having the “right” tools, start cultivating your attitude of hospitality. We don’t have an excuse. As God’s children, He has called us to love others well right where we are. God will give you daily opportunities to love others, show care and concern at just the right time if we simply accept the call to obey.
I obeyed when it came to our friend staying with us for a few weeks. I can attest that when God calls us, it might be uncomfortable at first to obey but He will equip you one step at a time. It’s been a blessing and now the next time, I won’t be so scared to say yes!
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Dear Father, create in us an attitude of hospitality. No matter where we are or what physical resources we have to offer. God, may we be your vessels to show love and care for those in our midst. Help us to be a people after your own heart. Amen
Erin Port, writer and blogger at Perfectly Port Family, is passionate about encouraging women to keep on, keeping on with a joyful, faith-filled life. She blogs about faith, family, and practical tips for daily living. She is a wife, mom to 3 children and lives in Iowa where she loves to find adventure with her family, laugh daily and shine bright for Jesus. You can connect with her on Facebook and Instagram for more encouragement.