How Much and How Long, Lord? (Part 5) I Want To Have Control!

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How Much and How Long, Lord? Series on Hospitality at Faith's Firm Foundation

This is Part 5 of a Series on Hospitality. Click on Hospitality to read all the posts in the series.

If, and when, guests are coming and staying “too long” or aren’t helping as you think they should, or it is “too much for you” for some reason, you need to not only talk to the Lord, but you should talk to your husband about it.  What does he think?

Prayerfully and meekly bring your concerns to him. If you come before him with your hands on your hips, saying, in word or attitude, “You’ve got to DO SOMETHING about this!” I don’t think your outcome is going to be good.

I have had to deal with the “panic” (may I call it panic?) in my heart at the impending onslaught of visitors (whatever number for whatever amount of time). Time and again, God showed me that in my heart was pride and a desire for control.

I was insisting on my home being run my way. My children behaving a certain way to make me look good. My not having to do all the work, and yet my desire for the work to all be done up to my expectations. My wanting to look like a Godly person, and to influence our guests for Christ, while being frustrated by not being able to do all the things and work that I thought would make me look Godly. My fear that my things were going to be wrecked. And not wanting people to see how I/we really were inside our four walls. God showed me my heart, and my hypocrisy.

I wanted to show hospitality, and have it cost me nothing.  I wanted to have the appearance of being hospitable without any real inconvenience to my schedule or life.  I didn’t want to expend or give of myself beyond what was comfortable.  If I wasn’t enjoying it, then I wasn’t going to do it!

My heart was selfish.  And disobedient.  The Lord in His Word commands us to practice hospitality.  He doesn’t say I should practice hospitality only if it fits neatly into my schedule and life, if it’s always enjoyable to me and if I can do it easily (like “falling off a log”).

There will be inconvenience, work, sweat, dying to myself, interruptions to my schedule and imposition to my wishes.  At times I will feel inadequate and ill-prepared.  I will have my plans changed and purposes thwarted.  I will look and be imperfect.  Perhaps most difficult of all, I will have to give up control.

Jesus’ desire as He walked this earth was to please and obey the Father. His Father changed His plans repeatedly, and Jesus obeyed. Jesus changed His plans to suit His Father’s desires.  Time and again, crowds came and changed His plans for time alone with His disciples.  He had to feed thousands on the spur of the moment. Even though He miraculously provided the food, the disciples and He had to serve them, show hospitality to them and clean up afterwards!  Even when under immense pressure just before dying for you and me, when facing the trial of His life, and when He no doubt wanted to spend time with His disciples and protect them and teach them, He laid down His own plans and His own desires and did His Father’s will.

He suffered, He served, He opened His life…He gave EVERYTHING. He said, “Not my will, but Thine be done.”

Lord, increase my trust in you.  Help me, Lord, to give up control:  to surrender every area of my life to You!  Help me to humble myself and have a servant heart like Yours.  May my heart be transformed by the Spirit of the Lord, Who lives within me, to reflect this giving, self-sacrificing, submissive example of Jesus.

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