The Most Important Detail of Hospitality
Recently, I was reading about Creation in the Bible. I’ve read this story for what seems like a million times. But here’s the thing about the Bible, you can read it a million times and God will always drop some nugget that you’ve never even thought of before. He’ll open your eyes to a new truth, a new perspective, and a new way of looking at His love for you. That’s exactly what has happened to me while reading about Creation.
Hospitality has been laid on my heart and I KNOW it’s more than a list of to-dos. I KNOW it’s more than being able to make bread from scratch. I KNOW it’s more than making my home beautiful. And I also know that the simple touches of love can also shine through that list of to-dos, the smell of homemade bread, and beautiful decor. The ministry of hospitality is separate from those things yet it’s connected at the same time.
Read Genesis 1-2
So there I was, struck by the story of Creation when I realize that it’s the ultimate story of hospitality and homemaking. God created this wonderful world. I mean, have you gone outside and taken in the sights around you? I remember living in Arizona where everything was just gray… for a very long time, I had thought that it was ugly. BUT THEN one day, I look outside and think to myself, “Those mountains look like a painting.” And then I look at the stunning sunsets that had always been stunning and thought, “Do other sunsets look as vibrant as these with their yellows, oranges, and reds?” Then in the springtime when the cactuses would bloom, I thought, “Who would have ever thought those pokey plants would ever hold something so beautiful?”
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Even in the Pacific Northwest, I can’t help but notice how the mountains look like paintings. I can’t help but stand breathless when frost coats every single branch, every single pine needle, and creates a completely different and stunningly beautiful landscape. I can’t help but look up when the skies are clear and the stars are dancing in the sky. I can’t help but appreciate the sunsets in their vibrant pinks, pale oranges, and light purples. It’s here that I’ve come to understand the “purple mountains majesty” from God Bless America. The mountains do turn purple in the sunrise!
And guess what? All these beautiful creations were created by the ultimate Creator. They were all created by God, but it goes even further than that. He created those dancing stars, those HUGE orange moons that cause one (me) to think there’s a fire on the nearest hill, the stunning sunsets, and all the amazing animals we share this planet with. And you know what’s even cooler? He created this entire planet for all of us to live in, to make our home, and to not just survive but to thrive and flourish in! But first… He prepared a place-THIS PLACE- for our growth. He created it with just the right balance of air and carbon dioxide for us to breathe and for the plants to have air. He created earth at just the right distance from the sun to allow life to flourish here. And the list goes on with His incredible attention to detail and His numerous thoughts of us.
Doesn’t it just take your breath away to notice that God created this place with you in mind? He created it with me in mind. He created it with every single human in mind. (Psalm 139:17-18)
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I think about when I invite someone over to my house. The details matter. It matters that my guests have room to relax and enjoy themselves. It matters that my guests can enjoy a great meal and want to come back for another visit. When the guests arrive, the details of the house cleaning take a back seat and the details of how to make them feel welcomed to come to the forefront. The simple task of making sure everyone has an enjoyable beverage is important. The simple task of taking coats so they don’t spend their time awkwardly trying to figure out what to do with them is important.
They mattered when God created this planet with us in mind and they matter when we prepare our homes for our guests. You know what detail matters the most though? Relationship. If you notice, when God created us, He made us for relationship. He made us so that we’d crave a relationship with each other and with Him. The best thing we can give to our guests is ourselves. We can give them our attention, our time, and even give of our resources (a delicious meal, perhaps?). When it’s all said and done, our guests aren’t coming to see our home, our beautiful home decor, or even to taste a twelve-course meal. They’re stepping into our home for relationship. They’re coming to see you and to spend time with you.