Monday, March 7, 2011

In A Word: Hospitality

I've been reading Max Lucado's book Outlive Your Life and posting chapter summaries on this blog as well as on a group page over at the Ruby for Women community site. Tonight's post serves two purposes. It's the next chapter summary for the group page as well as my latest "In A Word" blog.

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.

The sixth chapter of Lucado's Outlive  Your Life is titled "Open Your Door; Open Your Heart." The chapter encourages each of us to put hospitality back into our every day life by simply inviting a neighbor over for a meal, a cup of coffee, or even for a brief "Hi, how are you doing?" There are people all around us in need of a touch of love. We can be Christ to them by simply opening up our home which in turn opens up our heart. Lucado shares that all we need to be hospitable are the following "basic practices":
  • 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.
As I share these chapter notes and "In A Word" blog, I pray that it will be a reminder for all of us to take the time to meet a need in the life of another. "Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another" (I Peter 4:9-10, NLT).

4 comments:

  1. What meaningful words. A great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Amanda , Hope your day is going well
    ..... Hospitality is a very good choice for the word of the day as it is a dying art in our homes ..... Down through the years our home has been a safe haven for family , friends and strangers just because GOD instructs us to be loving and aslo we have the extra rooms down off the basement to house people who were in need and allowing for some privacy as well ......More recently in the past 5 years or so we try to do around the table dinners inviting church going and non- church going people that we are aquainted with during the year .....When time allows i will cook the entire dinner and just allow those that come to enjoy .....Most people do not sit down to eat a meal these days and it is a great way to show non-believers the love of CHRIST ..... Another thing we do between my sisters and brother is once a season we go to each siblings home for dinner .....We mingle pray eat laugh and share the happenings in our life ......1PETER 4:9-10 is definitely a necessary part of GODS love ....Thanks for showing posting on this .

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Debra :) Love your daily posts as well! I'm definitely a fan of morning conversation and coffee...a great way to start the day!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Summer, thanks so much for the comment :) Yes, hospitality is a dying service these days, but praise God for those of us who continue opening our homes and encourage others to do the same. Blessings to you and your family!!

    ReplyDelete