Hospital-ity

When you think about hospitality, don’t think entertaining. Don’t think about impressing or killing yourself making a five course meal.

Think hospital. Think healing. Think soul care.

Every day we cross paths with people who simply need kindness. And yet, kindness is so very rare in our rush-about, fast paced, production oriented culture. We are “producers”, and caring takes time, which slows.us. down.and.hinders.production.

Our husbands need a safe place. A kind word from a kind wife. Our kids need our time and attention. A look in the eye that shows that we are listening and really care.  And that lady at church–the one with all the little kids who always looks exhausted–she needs to hear that she is doing a good job, and that her life matters. She needs someone to care for her exhausted body and mind.

When you open your heart and home to others by caring–soul care, if you will– you are meeting a variety of needs–physical, emotional and spiritual. And like a skilled physician, you must decipher which is needed and then set about to administer the proper remedy.

Weary souls make their way to someone who loves enough to care. It is an inroad for the gospel.  It is amazing to think that the treatment for so many maladies can be had over a cup of warm tea, or a cold diet coke.

And, you never know the private pain that someone is enduring on the inside. My mother used to tell us that sometimes people are smiling on the outside, but on the inside, they might be crying.

I love this example of hospitality lived out in the life of Sarah Edwards, wife of the famous preacher, Jonathan Edwards, of the Great Awakening:

Familiar from childhood with the rules of decorum and good breeding, affable and easy in her manners, and governed by the feelings of liberality and benevolence, she [Sarah] was remarkable for her kindness to her friends, and to the visitants who resorted to Mr. Edwards;

sparing no pains to make them welcome, and to provide for their convenience and comfort. She was also peculiarly kind to strangers who came to her house. By her sweet and winning manners and ready conversation, she soon became acquainted with them, and brought them to feel acquainted with herself; and showed such concern for their comfort, and so kindly offered what she thought they needed, that while her friendly attentions discovered at once that she knew the feelings of a stranger, they also made their way directly to his heart, and gaining his confidence, led him im-mediately to feel as if he were at home, in the midst of near and affectionate friends.  Memoirs of Jonathan Edwards, pg. 71

Like Sarah Edwards, we must win the heart to be effective for Christ.

We can’t be a “love on Sunday” kinda Christian. We need to go about doing good seven days a week, starting in our own home.

Linked to Darlene at Time Warp Wife and The Better Mom (as in, I want to be a better mom. :)) and Courtney

11 comments

  1. Sarah, you are so smart :) I never thought of it like this, although I’ve definitely been on the receiving end of soul-care quality hospitality offered to me by others. Thanks for tweaking the way I see hospitality.

  2. Susie says:

    What a beautiful message, God bless you for putting this up 😉

  3. Karen Todd says:

    Excellent post! Thanks so much for reminding us what real hospitality is. Karen Mains really speaks at length about this in her book, “Open heart, Open home.” Alexander Strauch shared in his book, “The Hospitality Commands” that the early church was known for it’s hospitality. It marked them. Their hospitality was interconnected with their love for Christ. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

  4. Thank you, Sarah… what a beautiful reminder for us all! Love this.

  5. Sherry says:

    Thanks. This was a great ah ha moment for me. Thanks for sharing this.
    I enjoyed my visit. I linked to Titus Tuesday today too. Come by and see me.
    Have a Blessed Week,
    Sherry

  6. Mrs. White says:

    Excellent! I love the quote from Mrs. Edwards. I also love thinking of hospitality as “hospital” or place of healing.

  7. Ms. Kathleen says:

    This was a beautiful message and a great reminder to be hospitable to all we see and all those we hold dear.

  8. anonymous says:

    This is right on the mark. My friend Lucy has an ettiquete ministry and she talks about this very thing.
    Latisha
    confessionsofamartha.blogspot.com

  9. Amy says:

    I’m so used to thinking of hospitality in conjunction with entertaining, but this seems to hit much closer to the mark. What a true and wonderful way to approach it!

  10. cynD Smith says:

    I think most of us wish we could be like Sarah.. Is it too late to try to be? Did we have the right training as youngster? Have we the right house? We don’t have guest in the house. Do I have what it takes to be like this? … Ah well if it is not in us, and we want it to be.. we must seek GOD’s face and desire such gifts. Listen at least twice as much as we talk.. that will help us take the first step… I want to be like Sarah, I want my house in order and my husband well pleased, and my Children to call me blessed.. You see…. I want it all !!

    • SJBeals says:

      Yes! I want to be like Sarah Edwards too! But because she was Christlike! I am striving to be like Him. No, it is never too late! just because you are one way today, does not mean that you have to be that way tomorrow! You are on the right track! Listen in order to meet real needs! If you don’t listen, but are always the one “babbling on and on” you really can’t help another. I am always thankful for flesh and blood examples of godly women!