Hospitality from busy people
‘Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.’—(1 Peter 4:8-9 ESV)
I wonder if you, like me, have sometimes felt badly about hospitality?
A melee of feelings, such as…
Insecurity: is what I’m offering good enough?
Inadequacy: I can’t do it well enough anyway.
Tiredness: I don’t have the energy for this.
Busyness: I don’t have time for this.
Frustration: the tidy house is untidy again.
Regret: that I’ve asked people at all!
Resentment: that they (poor unsuspecting people) agreed to come!
If you’re thinking ‘I’m like that!’, relieved that others are in the same boat, then STOP!
It’s comforting that we can relate, but instead of commiserating with each other, let’s think about what we should be doing. How can we offer hospitality in a more God-honouring way?
These negative feelings need to go, but they won’t unless we put something else in their place.
Ingredients to Improve your Mind
A large quantity of remembrance – never forget that in serving others, you are really serving God! (Matthew 25:40);
A measure of thankfulness – be thankful that God has blessed you with enough to be able to share with others (Ephesians 5:20);
A cup of contemplation – of your eternal reward. You are building up treasure in heaven while doing menial tasks on earth! (Matthew 10:42);
A spoonful of humility – it’s not a competition! Don’t worry about what others do, and don’t be critical of other people’s homes and arrangements – whether they offer far more or far less than you can, they might be serving God every bit as much as you (John 7:24);
A dash of contentment – don’t fret over every small detail; be content with what God has given you, and use it to serve others (Philippians 4:11; Hebrews 13:5).
You may also wish to add…
Ample basic cooking practice
Quantities of thinking ahead – write meal plans; prepare in advance; do whatever it takes to help you manage food, time and guests;
Plenty of Prayer - pray that God will be glorified, that you will be of spiritual benefit to your guests, that they will benefit you… add to the list and adjust according to taste (Philippians 4:6);
Lots of relevant, encouraging Bible verses to help you stay on track; learn them and stick them up around your kitchen to remind you Whom you serve (Psalm 119:11);
A dollop of hard work – do everything to the best of your ability (Colossians 3:23).
Method for Practice
Take a spoonful daily – keep hospitality in your mind: include it in food shopping, baking, cleaning, managing your diary etc.; it will soon become a way of life;
Personalise as needed – do what you can according to your skills and the time you have; if you can’t manage a three-course meal, guess what…? Only do one or two. If you can’t make a meal, schedule coffee and cake or make a sandwich; if it’s not convenient to offer hospitality at home, offer it elsewhere – take a friend out for lunch, and so on;
Encourage wholesome, Christ-honouring conversation in your home and steer away from critical talk;
Make the time with your guests count – learn from them, influence them, show by your home and practical example what God can do through you;
If possible, be a part of any biblical discussion that takes place in your home: spiritual food is far more important than physical food!