This is Part 2 in a series on Hospitality, that addresses the issues of unpleasant or overlong stays by guests, our hearts when hosting others, and what we should do, as Christians? I began Part 1 with a story of my unyielded heart, and the turmoil it caused me until I gave God control and ownership of my home, specifically my “treasured” finished basement.
I had not given God ownership of our finished basement, which He had graciously provided the funds for, and He gently dealt with me, while not forcing me. I gave my basement to God that Sunday morning, and in my heart had to come face to face with my worst fears: my carpet being destroyed by one careless act. I realized that I didn’t think God was big enough to handle that happening, and I confessed that sin. This whole ordeal may seem a little thing, but at the time it was huge to me. It really was a matter of how big a God I served. And bottom line, did I trust Him? Did I trust Him with everything? Did I trust Him with my carpeting?
Do You Have Peace?
Every one of us has a different “moment of truth.” Our Loving Heavenly Father knows how to bring it up at just the right time and in the right way to make us deal with it. I had no peace. This is actually a litmus test for whether you’ve surrendered something to God. Do you have peace? If not, you haven’t surrendered totally. You’re still holding on to something. You’re still keeping your hand on the steering wheel.
After I surrendered, God gave me peace. He taught me so much through this experience, that frankly, I don’t ever want to “own” anything again. I don’t want to be responsible for something happening to “my” things. I will try to be a good steward of the possessions He allows me to have. I’ll do it for Him and His glory.
Pride Is So Insidious
But I don’t want to obsess like I used to about everything being perfect. This was a serious area of pride for me. I wanted you to think that I was a great housekeeper and extremely organized. I wanted to be known as keeping my home always picked up, and on and on and on.
Coming into marriage, I had none of these skills, and many bad habits. Now, I really enjoyed the accolades I received for being neat, clean and thought-to-be organized. There is such a fine line here. We need to strive to be orderly, because God is a God of order. Keeping our homes clean and in order will bring peace to our family and is a way of serving the Lord. The problem for me was that I had ceased doing it primarily for the Lord (though I didn’t realize it). I did it for my name’s sake and my glory. It’s an issue of the heart. What are my motives? God will not share His glory with anyone.
After I gave this possession to God to take care of, I was free as I’d never been before. I committed to thank Him whatever happened to “His” basement (and everything else “I” had owned that I’d turned over to Him). He will test you to see if you’ve really given Him ownership of that thing you just committed to Him. He proved me in the case of the basement, when after some time, someone did spill a little grape juice on the carpet. The stain came out. (God never said that I shouldn’t do a little research and be prepared should something come up and I needed to clean up!)
I am grateful for the peace He gave at the moment that the spill happened. The freedom I felt was worth a million dollars (and all the finished basements in the world)! I was able to assure the “spiller” that it was no problem, and relieve them of the agony they felt. I knew, and felt, the pleasure of the Lord in that moment.
My Heart, Christ’s Home
If your home and everything you have is God’s, then you must surrender it to Him, and allow Him to use it as He wills. I guarantee that He will stretch you and ask you for the key to “little closets” where you have “precious things” hidden that you are not willing to yield up to Him and His control. (Have you read “My Heart, Christ’s Home”? There are great analogies in this little book that apply here.)
If He is in control of your life, (and isn’t that what making Him Lord and Savior means?) then is He not in control of your schedule, interruptions, time, body and the service you give?
What’s Coming Up
In the next post I will touch on the subject of inconsiderate guests who never lift a finger, and our heart response to the extra work that’s required. (When I was a child, I had a single aunt who came from California to Minnesota to spend a whole month every summer with our family, sometimes letting us know she was coming after she was already on her way, and never lifted a finger to help. She mostly sat and read a book. My mom’s answer to this was to hand her a dishtowel occasionally.)
I will also begin to discuss what you can do when the influence on your children is negative or dangerous.
I’d Like Your Thoughts
So, what do you think? I have opinions I’ll begin to share, and continuing lessons the Lord taught me from His Word, but I’m interested to know how you’ve handled this touchy situation. Have you had inconsiderate guests who didn’t lift a finger to help? Did you ask them to help? Did you politely suggest they rent a hotel room the next time they were in town? Can you share what you did (without gossip, ranting, or attacking–I want this blog to keep a Christ-like attitude–please be careful with your words, ok?) I can tell you what I’ve done in these kinds of situations (it differed depending on the person, whether they were saved or not and other variables), but let me know what you’ve found helpful.