This week we are hosting the National Hoops team at our church. We have a sweet family staying with us with their two young children. It has been an exhausting weekend, but it is so nice to have a baby and toddler in the house, and to see my older children changing gears and slowing down to play with little ones.
God ordains all things, and even though this couple usually has a motor home to live in on their excursions around the country, it is being repaired right now. So this sweet little family is in our home for a whole week by God’s design. The wife and I have had wonderful conversations about homeschooling(she’ll have to homeschool due to the nature of their lifestyle- traveling around the country most of the year), parenting, college and general ministry. So God has His reasons that we are together this week. And that is good to keep in mind, because I am exhausted and need to be focused on what God is doing and not how I feel physically.
Hospitality is “stranger love.” It is welcoming a stranger into your home for the sake of the gospel. It is a wonderful way to expose your children to all kinds of people from all walks of life, to bless other people, and most importantly to make the gospel of Jesus Christ look attractive to the people of this world for whom Christ died.
But let’s be honest. Hospitality equals WORK. And sometimes work is no fun. Of course, God knows us inside and out and He gives us a little warning about practicing hospitality: He tells us to “not grumble” when we have to open up our homes. (How does He always know!!! jk) Think of it as your home is a “hospital” and see your guests as people with needs like all of us: either physical, spiritual or emotional. Then, pray and get busy tending to those needs, easing burdens and soothing the hurt.
Look for ways to make your guest comfortable. Is there a place for them to put their stuff? How about a fan if their hot, or extra throw blankets if they are cold. Extra pillows are nice, and a bag full of goodies like chocolate, cookies and bottled water. Give them the freedom to read your books, use your computer and washer/dryer. Maybe put a coffee/tea basket out all day incase they want a cup of something hot. Are there toys/books for their children that are age appropriate?
The goal is to minister grace and comfort to your guest, not to impress them. If you need help in this area, seek out a godly older woman in your church who is known for the gift of hospitality and ask them to help you. In my opinion, living and experiencing it through a real life example is better than reading a book. I have learned many things through watching my own mother. She just seems to “know” and anticipate needs before they arise.
If you need a book recommendation for hospitality, let me recommend two books:
Practicing Hospitality: The Joy of Serving Others by Pat Ennis
A Life That Says Welcome by Karen Ehman