After Kay’s talk last week, I realized that I committed a big one recently.
As I walked in the door to this party, I told the hostess, “Thank you so much for doing this. I am so grateful for you and your gift of hospitality.”
Sounds relatively innocent, doesn’t it?
I was honestly thankful that she opened her home to us and hosted a gathering of us kindergarten parents. But, I also slipped something else in there. Did you notice?
A cop out.
With my love language as quality time, I love to get together with people to eat, talk, and/or just be. Especially at someone’s house.
Oh how that fills my tank and fuels my soul.
But, to host. To be the one that has people over to my house, siphons me dry. It is always stressful to me to have people over, even when they are my closest friends.
Food, while I enjoy making it, still feels like an accomplishment every night for my own family. But, to then set it all out in pretty dishes, warm at the same time, well, that takes some kind of special powers that I don’t have!
Enough plates and glasses and silverware and coffee mugs? And spots for people to sit?
Then, there’s the cleaning. Ugh, the cleaning! The bathrooms (boys!). The toys. The clutter. The kitchen. The never-ending piles of laundry.
You get the idea. Then, you begin noticing 50 more things now glaring at you that you just haven’t gotten to yet.
Even if I tackled most of that, how then, would I keep the kids from messing it all up again?
And what about during the party? There’s the scurrying around to make sure everyone has everything they need. Where is the quality time and intentional conversations in that?
It’s like some kind of crazy math algorithm that I can never figure out.
So clearly, I don’t have the gift of hospitality, right?
Kay says hospitality isn’t a gift. Now, she wasn’t intending this to be a biblical debate. Her point was that it doesn’t matter, because it can be learned and we are called to it…
Share with God’s people who are in need.
It doesn’t imply we should be naturally good at it at all.
And if I read it closely, it also isn’t focused on me, my food, and my house. No.
It is about serving someone else, someone that God loves and is in need.
Kay also reminded that people just want to be invited and included.
They get more filled up on a big, warm, heaping helping of love than whatever you’re slaving over in the kitchen.
See, we have twisted this hospitality thing at times into a big production about us. About looking good on the outside.
Rather, it is to be an outpouring of our heart. Extending an offering to someone else in love, because of God’s great love and grace already extended to us.
So when I stress and complain and scurry and worry, I’m making it about me.
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 4:9
It actually has so little to do with us, except that we be two things: available and obedient.
Kay challenged that hospitality isn’t something that happens only under our roof either. Rather, it is a way of life. And, once it becomes that, I’d argue it is a most beautiful heirloom being passed down from one generation to the next.
So, for this week, I have a challenge for us.
1. Learn Romans 12:13: “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Write the verse and set it out on your dinner table or put in your pantry, fridge or silverware drawer. Your car is another great spot. I might sneak it in a few places as reminders.
2. Pray for God to give you a heart for His people and to reveal those that you can reach out to. With this new public school kindergarten thing, my heart lately has been for the school, the teachers, and the parents.
3. Practice! Even if the idea of opening your home, your cooking, your time to someone else feels uncomfy, find a friend who’s great at it and pick their brain. I’m sure they’d love to pass down their legacy to you. And then, put yourself out there. Start small, that’s fine. Invite neighbors over for coffee or something.
For those of you experts, stretch your circles and include those that no one seems to want to talk to, or someone that could really use a friend. When we serve the least of these, we are serving our Father in Heaven!
Keep practicing! While it may not make perfect, it will become a beautiful heirloom you are passing down to your children…
not to be served, but to serve.
- by Sundee McDonald