If you are like me, every time someone steps into your home, you are constantly watching to see if they appear comfortable. You want with all of your heart for your guests to love your decor, feel as if they are in their own home, and it'd be nice if they also thought you were the best cook in the world...is there anyone out there who feels the same way?
I love when people come over. Taylor and I host a weekly bible study for young adults in our home and we love it! It is so nice to have people come and fellowship. We like giving the gift of our home to them, in hopes that no matter what is going on in their lives, they can come in and feel comfortable sitting, resting, and sharing what is on their hearts.
We aren't perfect hosts. Sometimes I'm lazy. Sometime me and Taylor banter back and forth too much and probably make people feel like we are fighting (even though we are joking...most of the time, haha). Sometimes I don't feel like cleaning up as much as I should. Sometimes, like any other human, I'm grumpy. But I definitely hope (and think) that our friends always feel welcomed, loved, cherished, and comfortable when they step into our humble abode.
In reality, even though my natural reaction is to worry about the house itself- is it clean enough? warm enough? cool enough? pretty enough?- hospitality is really about Christ. Sure, it would be bad hospitality (and a bad witness) to let our house be filthy, or to act as if we didn't care if our guests were comfortable, but hospitality is so much more than a clean house.
Hospitality done right is a ministry in itself. When people feel welcomed, they feel loved. When they know that your home is open to them, people will typically feel important. In turn, when someone feels important, they will be more willing to share their heart, their pain, and their struggles. And as a person shares these things, we can better encourage them, love them, and lift them up.
When Taylor and I host our Bible study (or anytime we have people over), we strive to make each person feel loved. We do this differently- Taylor is a joker. He enjoys humor in most situations. I, however, am a words-of-affirmation kind of gal. But regardless of our methods, we desire that 1.) our guests will feel incredibly loved and welcomed in, and 2.) that they will see Christ through our marriage. In my opinion, both of those things are a form of ministry.
Furthermore, hospitality is something that God seems to have called each individual to. In 1 Timothy 5:9-10, Paul is instructing Timothy on what kind of widow can be marked as having adequately served the Lord in her life. He says:
Obviously, Paul saw hospitality as an attribute of godliness; otherwise, it wouldn't have been on this list.
And we see the same theme again (this time for all believers) in Titus 1:8,
Be hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.And again in both Galatians 5:13 and Hebrews 13:16
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Galatians)
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews)No matter where Taylor and I go in life- whether we are missionaries in a dessert land, rich entrepreneurs in New York (now that's funny right there), or residents of North Carolina for the rest of our lives- I want us to be a couple who always welcomes people into our home. I want to always show people they are loved by inviting them in, lifting them up, and bearing their burdens. This is a ministry that I love, and that I feel very capable and gifted to do. Some people are much more gifted in other areas- areas that I am miserably bad at (like patience, preaching, and teaching). But since God has gifted me with both the gift of encouragement and the ability to reach out to people through hospitality, I hope to spend the rest of my life improving and growing in these things, using them as a witness for God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.
How do you exercise hospitality? What ways (other than opening your home) can you exercise hospitality? Are there creative ways of doing so? Comment below.
*This post is part of the monthly Peony Project link-up. If you would like to see more posts on hospitality, or link-up your own post about hospitality, follow this link.