Humility broadens my view like nothing else. It causes me to see the value in human beings even ones who are not kind. Lately prayer and understanding have been my closest friends. That old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions certainly has me thinking about the future of my family today.
My intentions are good as I want to be a beacon of light in the Lord. I want my family and my home to be a place where strangers and friends alike will be invited in and warmly share a meal or housing. Martin Luther proved that the table is a splendid place from which to share God’s truth, disciple others, and be discipled. Luther and his wife, Katie, became known for their open home and liberal hospitality. My intentions were always to open my home to strangers and those in need, but what actually happened was much different and pushed to the back of my heart. The fire, the ministry which had consumed my heart, dimmed for a while. They are coming back.
What is biblical hospitality? Well, up until now, and even a little now, it’s a heavy burden in which I have another hundred chores added to the list. All my adult life I have had an extremely difficult time letting others into my home and seeing the “real” me without cleaning. I am a homeschool mother, which means I have next to no time at all to clean, yet I feel I am constantly cleaning and am never caught up at the same time. My kids and husband help, but there’s a lot to do all the time. Taking time to write and is a relaxing and welcome break and I am thankful for this blog. Back to hospitality, the kind of hospitality tied to the Lord’s message, when I read the Word, I see that I am to join Him in His purposes. How powerful for the kingdom is it to use the home as an outreach to serve others. My most valuable gifts which the Lord blesses me with are more powerful in the comfort of my own home where I can share all I am and all I have with another.
In reading several examples of hospitality through the Old and New Testaments, one stood out to me the most… Matthew the tax collector (Mark 2:15-17). Tax collectors were not popular people in those days. In the past, when I have gotten my home clean enough to share with others, it was always with good intentions, but never purely sacrificial. My home was shared in order that the others would like the group we belonged to and see that what we were doing was wonderful. We lived in a community-centered church in which you had to live in the neighborhood. We often had visitors who stayed with us so they could come to our meetings and see what community life looked like. I often had those within our community stay with us so we could talk about the church, our problems, and what we called sharing life, which is for a whole other blog altogether. Anyway, we never shared our home with strangers (who didn’t have interest in our group) because there was no point. But the word instructs us to share meals and lodging to people who have none. Which brings up a lot of anxiety when done in my own strength.
I have realized in the last few weeks that I have always practiced hospitality with the expectation of something. It was never an attitude of heart. As the Lord has opened my eyes to this weakness and all of my excuses, it’s extremely clear that I had become so inwardly focused, so safe and secure in my own home with my own people, that I failed to reach out to those who are without Christ and without hope in the world. All of history is about God seeking a family for Himself, a Bride for His Son, a house of Himself, and He asks us to join Him in His Purposes.
So there are two things going on here. The first is that I need to get out of the mindset that hospitality has to mean that my home need to be perfect. Yes, that bathrooms and floors should be clean, as I do ask my guests to remove their shoes and it’s thoughtful to keep a clean bathroom for others to use. Other than that, I don’t have to wait until my home is spotless. I have gotten good at stretching our grocery dollar and can feed as many as the Lord brings us. We eat pretty healthy and I used to worry that I couldn’t by the healthy organic foods if I needed to feed others, but the Lord has shown me better ways to cook with those foods and how to stretch them further.
The other thing is my mindset. I have used the excuse of having small children in the home to not invite others in. It could be dangerous. I have also not known where to look. Do I just pick up random homeless men and women off the street, or pick them up when they get released from prison and bring them over for chicken and potatoes? I wanted to do that, but felt weird about it. The thing is, the Lord makes a way if the heart is willing. There are ministries who provide the connection between people who need, and those who are willing to give. They are relatively easy to find if you research. One ministry that connects Christian travelers with people who are wanting to provide food and shelter is called A Candle in the Window. If you are interested you can go to www.acandleinthewindow.com
Being hospitable, the heart Christ wants us to have, is one that shares what we have. With those who share our beliefs and even with those who don’t and can’t offer anything in return.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!