“A Helping of Hospitality” #4: 3 Things To Do and 1 Thing Not To Do Before You Even Begin Inviting

“A Helping of Hospitality”Easter 2011 dessert

We’ve been talking about Hospitality and looking at our heart and motivations. It has transformed my hospitality completely to put into practice what I shared with you in the video, “A Helping of Hospitality #2.” Click on the link if you haven’t watched that video or need to refresh your memory.

Don’t Miss the Rest of the Series:

“A Helping of Hospitality #1”: Tips to Help you Begin (or Begin Again!)
“A Helping of Hospitality #2”: The Most Important Thing to Do in Preparation
“A Helping of Hospitality #3”:  Not Just at Home
“A Helping of Hospitality #4”: Three Things to Do and One Not to Do Before you Even Begin!

This post is in two parts, as it is so important, there was way more that I wanted to say than fit into one post, so here is #4, Part A in this series, “A Helping of Hospitality.” Have you learned anything new? Have you tried out any of the tips you’ve heard? I really hope so. I would love to hear about your family’s hospitality. As you think and pray about what practicing hospitality is going to look like in your home and family, here are some things to consider (preferably) before we even begin to invite anyone:)

  1. Don’t Compare
  2. Do Submit to your own husband.
  3. Do Remember that there are Seasons in life.
  4. Do Give your Expectations to God.
  1. Oh, dear friends, if there is one thing that will tear us apart, and make us unfruitful in God’s kingdom, that one thing may be comparing ourselves to others. We all are tempted in this area at times, but it can destroy us. So, I beg of you, please don’t compare yourself with others. But, that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? So, here are some positive things to DO to keep from comparing.

Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus, read and memorize God’s Word, and believe it! Especially when we’re tempted. And listen to God.

Remember that each and every one of us:

  • was uniquely created by God,

  • has a unique and special purpose,

  • was given unique and special gifts and talents,

  • has a unique life story unlike anyone else’s,

  • has had experiences that no one else has had,

and all these things make up the one and only you. Add to that that if you are married, you live with a husband who is also a uniquely created and gifted being, and however many children you have who are also unique.

What that means is:

There is no other family on earth

like yours. 

So, remember that God has a unique and special plan for you and your family.

It’s not going to be the same as anyone else’s. You will miss it by comparing.

  1. God has commanded us to obey or submit to WHO (or is it WHOM)? Your own husband. Whether you are just getting started in practicing hospitality, or you could write a book on the subject, if you’re married, you need to talk to your husband about his desires for the hospitality that you show. Ask him who he’d like to invite over and when. Ask him what level of involvement he wants to have in hospitality. He doesn’t have to necessarily be involved in every aspect (making the menu, for instance, might be all yours, unless your husband wants to be involved). But, talk to him. Ask him what level of hospitality he wants your family to be practicing. How often? How many people? How formal or informal?  Does he prefer you have one woman over during the day for coffee? Or, would he like to have a family over for dinner once a month? Would he like to be hosting a group in your home weekly? Or, is he interested in planning major events involving hundreds of people? These are all examples of practicing hospitality, but at very different levels. Talk to him and let him lead.

You see that there are as many different levels of hospitality as there are ways of practicing it, because God has made us all unique, and He plans to use us in His world uniquely!  Practicing allows us to be able to do things on a grander scale at some point than we could when we first began.  But, being able to do something doesn’t automatically mean we’re supposed to do it. (Cross stitch THAT and put it on the wall!) Are we called to that kind of hospitality? Be listening to God and to your husband.

I would recommend that, when asked if you can host an event, or you come up with an idea to invite someone over, you always ask your husband first. There have been many times that my husband said, “No,” and I didn’t understand at all (and sometimes strongly disagreed), and then later I was so very grateful and saw that God had protected me by my husband’s, “No,” from being way overburdened and overbooked.  Things happened that neither of us knew were going to, but God knows, and even when our husbands don’t know all the reasons why, we should listen and submit, knowing that God is fully capable of using them to lead us.

Come back next time for the end of this post on 3 Things to Do and 1 Not to Do Before you Even Begin.

By the Grace of my Heavenly Father alone, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

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“A Helping of Hospitality #3” Not Just at Home

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As I prayed over what to share with you this week and was asking the Lord what His message was for you, a Bible passage popped into my head. I’m sharing in a written post this week, rather than a video, but please watch “A Helping of Hospitality #1,” and “A Helping of Hospitality #2,” if you haven’t already joined me for this series.

This is a little post with a big thought, or it was for me.

First, though, I’d like to expand our thinking about where hospitality takes place.  Hospitality doesn’t only take place in the home. I’ll be talking more about this in future posts. But, for now, I want to expand your thinking, if you’ve never thought of it before, to be aware that you can and should show hospitality outside your own home. There are many times that you’re the one “at home” and you can make a real difference in the life and experience of a “new person” or “outsider.”  This can be anyone from the new person at your moms’ group to a person from another country experiencing a completely foreign culture. Whenever you’re in a setting where you have come more than once, you’re a “regular” and if there’s a visitor or new person there, you can make them feel “at home” by welcoming them, getting to know them a little and answering any questions they have or giving them a few tips on how to settle in and what they can expect.  One of these places to show hospitality that you may not have thought of is the place you worship each Sunday, at church.
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When a visitor comes through the door of your church, go over and say, “Hi.” Introduce yourself, and say, “I don’t believe I’ve met you, I’m _____.”  Extend your hand, if they have a free hand, to shake theirs. Introduce your spouse and children, if they’re with you. If time is short, just let them know that if they have any questions, they can feel free to ask. Then, if you have responsibilities to get to, politely tell them you have some things to attend to before the service and that it was very nice to meet them.

If there’s time before the service begins, ask them where they’re from, and how they found out about your church. Don’t be distracted. Listen. Care about them! Help them settle in. Show them where to hang their coat, if they have one. If they have children, give them information on what is available for their care, and what time everything will begin, so they know how much time they have. Let them know the location of restrooms, where the nursery is (if your church has one), where the Sunday School classrooms are and what classes are available, if they’re interested in attending, etc.  If your church has any printed materials for visitors, get that for them, or a bulletin, if your church has one. Point out places where they can get more information, should they desire it (perhaps a bulletin board, or back table).  If you haven’t visited a new church in some time, try to remember how that feels! Be sensitive to their needs and don’t overwhelm them with information. (I think it’s a great idea to take a week off about once a year and visit a new church, if for no other reason than it gives you a whole new perspective on how it feels to walk into a church that you’ve never been to before!) If you have many new visitors each week, be prepared with this information in your hand already, and have a plan. (If your church has no visitor information printed up, maybe this is something you could suggest, or even print up some basic information for people you meet.) Be welcoming, give helpful information, and then introduce them to another person or family from your church, and move on to the next visitor. You may want to keep a little notebook handy to write down at least their first names, and some general information about them. There’s nothing that says, “I care” more than remembering a person’s name the next time you see them, and if you also remember details from your previous conversation, even better!

When you’re at your own church, you are the one “at home.” Have you considered how you’re to treat others who visit? Have you thought of this as showing hospitality? When I asked God what His message was this week for me to share with you, the passage of Scripture that came immediately to my mind was from James 2. I was surprised. And, frankly, convicted. Do we have “respect of persons” in showing hospitality, and loving people? At church? And, perhaps, also when inviting people to our home?

James 2:1-4, 8-9:

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:  Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? If ye fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,’ ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”

Do we choose to invite (to our church or to our home) only those who are beautiful, well-dressed, popular, leaders, people who would make us look good to be seen with them? Successful people? People who seem to have Godly families and no problems?  Do we invite people who live in nice houses, and who have nice things? Do we try to get to know those who have expensive toys or do fun activities, in hopes that they’ll invite us to share or participate? Do we invite people who are in the “in” group? Do we want to be part of the class or small group that seems to be having so much fun? And, do we only invite those who we have “something in common with”? Is that what hospitality is about? It seems that God has some harsh words about that.

When we’re at church, do we ask God, “Lead me to who You want me to talk to, Lord. Guide the conversation to whatever You want. If there are needs, help me see them, and use me today.” Or do we always sit with “our friends” and talk to those we feel comfortable with?

Your heart is God’s home, and He desires to love and speak to others through you and your life. Is there openness, sensitivity to others, even awareness of others, or are you only thinking about yourself, your list, your desires, what you’re trying to accomplish, and your own problems?

We often are so consumed with our own things that we don’t even see the opportunities and needs that God places in front of us in our day, and the ways He wants to use us. Or we don’t want to take the time or make the effort, or inconvenience ourselves. When you’re at church, what is your attitude?

If a visitor comes to our group (at church, or anywhere), do we say hello and seek to make them feel welcome? Do we show hospitality when we’re outside of our own home?

What is God’s way, as exhibited in Jesus’ life?

He loved us before we loved Him. While we were yet sinners, (when we were very messed up) Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) He sacrificed, He went out of His comfort zone, He risked rejection, He gave, He was unselfish, He took time, He poured Himself out. With no expectation of anything in return.

This is our example. Let us follow in His steps.

By the Grace of my Heavenly Father alone, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

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