Hospitality seems to come naturally to some people. I fear that I am not one of them.
I enjoy having a friend or two over for a visit from time to time, but I’m a bit of a homebody. I like my quiet solitude at this stage of life that’s often filled with noise and busyness. When others are invited into that space, I sometimes get nervous, anxious, or stressed.
However, the Lord asks us to be hospitable. It’s a way to show Christian love. And as the wife of a pastor, it’s even more important for me to have a hospitable heart!
God is helping me, though. While it’s been a long process, He has helped me to see that there are really only a few things that guests in our home want.
But Our Home Is Outdated!
Years ago, when my husband and I were finally able to get out from under a very tiny 2 bedroom house and move into our current, larger home, we were beyond thrilled and thanking God for the real miracle He did in allowing us to move.
Then, as my more naturally hospitable husband started inviting people to our home within a month of moving in, I had a sudden dread. People would see our terribly outdated home.
Friends and acquaintances would see wood paneling from the 70s, beige walls unevenly and sloppily painted by previous owners, and polyester teal curtains that I didn’t have time to replace. The cracked pink tile in the bathroom, the wobbly wrought iron stair railing, and the peeling kitchen wall paper would certainly be all that guests would see.
And they would think that I liked the look of it all!
Pride is such a sneaky, tricky thing, isn’t it?
What Our Guests Really See
It was clearly wrong for me to make the look of my home such an idol that it would take away from my deep gratitude for the extra space and a setting in the country. We should never be ashamed of what God has blessed us with!
I knew that in my head, but I needed it in my heart. Though it took time, I had to let certain truths become anchored deep down so that I could have a heart for hospitality.
The guests in our home didn’t care that our curtains weren’t to my liking.
They didn’t notice that the vinyl floor trim was peeling off.
The faux wood wall paneling from the 70s didn’t bother them.
The bathroom that needed completely remodeled wasn’t a problem.
No one cared about the peeling kitchen wallpaper that I dislike so much.
The Hospitality Our Guests Really Want
I had to hear it multiple times for my heart to be more open to hospitality, but what I heard from our guests after they’d been in our home was a thankfulness, not for the physical setting, but the love we extended.
Thoughtful, simple meals.
The singing of our children.
I can’t offer my guests elaborate place settings, precise appetizer trays, or even a semi-formal dining room. I don’t think there’s anything formal about our home. Though we’ve done some painting, replaced curtains, and even remodeled a bathroom, there’s still plenty of work to do.
But while they are in my home, I can offer them an opportunity to feel welcomed, loved, and most of all, valued.
I think that’s really the kind of hospitality we all want, isn’t it?