Hospitality is the word of the day. Acts 2:46 states, "They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts." 'They' refers to the believers of the early church. After Jesus' ascension into Heaven and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, believers started spreading the Gospel of Christ like wildfire, but they didn't use church buildings to do it. Early believers traveled from house to house sharing Christ's message of love and salvation. For the most part, they were welcomed in each home they visited. Christianity included a large serving of hospitality.
As Lucado shares, today's world is not quite so hospitable. In fact, the technology around us has actually made is possible for us to go through a single day (sometimes more) without actually talking face to face with anyone. We can send e-mails, texts, post blogs, and discussions without ever physically or verbally coming into contact with another living soul. Yet, it's the very interaction and connection that we long for with another that enables us to grow as a body of believers as well as reach out to unbelievers.
- Issue a genuine invitation - Don't just invite guests over, find a way to let them know you would genuinely enjoy their company.
- Make a big deal of their arrival - Make guests feel welcome, not awkward when they enter your home. Be at the door to greet them and invite them in. Don't send the kids to let them in because you're busy setting the table. It's about the people, not the presentation.
- Address the needs of your guest - Listen to your guests. Give them the freedom to talk and share. Keep the background music or noise (television) to a minimum if not out completely. Afraid of a big moment of silence? Be prepared, ask guests how their day or week is going. Share about yourself (but don't overwhelm, remember, it's about your guests).
- Send them out with a blessing - Let guests know how much their company was enjoyed. "Offer a prayer for their safety" or a word of encouragement for the road.