Hospitality. Practice hospitality. That word practice is pretty important, it seems. I have always in the past been someone who practiced hospitality. I love having people in my home! A few years ago, we were counting the number of people through our home in a year by the many hundreds. The last couple of years, due to extenuating circumstances (my mom needing more care until her death in April, and then foot surgery in August that I’m still not completely healed from), have resulted in my being out of the habit of hospitality. Not good! No matter if you’ve done something a million times, if you don’t practice regularly, you will get rusty. It’s just a fact. So, how to get back into the habit of practicing hospitality, or maybe start!
Here are a few ideas to help us:
- Start small and keep it simple: Invite 1 friend for popcorn and a movie, or a couple over for ice cream and Cookie Butter topping (Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter is absolutely the best!)
- Lower your obsessiveness over having a perfect house: pick up and clean one room, if your house is really a mess, and lead your guests there. Or, let it motivate you to spend some time decluttering and organizing, but invite guests first, so you don’t delay for 6 months because your house is too messy. Don’t embarrass your guests by apologizing for your house. They are there to see you. They probably have their own mess at home. Show them love, make them feel at home, listen to them, care. That’s what’s important. Relax.
- Get something on the schedule out a month or so to give yourself time to prepare, but get it scheduled.
- When the Lord prompts you to invite someone, obey the prompting.
- Think of a meal that you can make by heart and invite someone who’s lonely to share it.
- Invite someone to come for tea (or coffee). Serve tea/coffee and maybe have a plate of crackers and cheese, maybe an apple cut up, possibly some of your favorite chocolates out, and use your favorite cups or mugs with a small plate for each of you, inexpensive napkins that are pretty, get an assortment of good teas (Vanilla cream, chamomile, rooibos, raspberry zinger…). Lay it out on the coffee table or kitchen table before your guest arrives, and it will say, “Welcome!” If you have small children, have an area with toys set up to keep them occupied, and if they’re old enough, send them to another part of the house to play, so you and your guest can visit in (relative) peace.
- Think of questions to ask and be a good listener. Pray with and for your guest. Share what the Lord is doing in your life and be an encourager.
Once we’ve begun (again), repeat, and practice! Expand to larger groups and more often, as you feel more and more comfortable. If we ask God and pray for Him to show us who He wants us to have over, and to lead the conversation, and to bless our time together, He will. If we do it for the Lord, He’ll help us to forget about ourselves and be able to practice the true meaning of the word hospitality, which comes from the word, “hospital.” We’ll be a means of bringing His healing, encouragement and love to others. So, who are you going to invite this week?
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