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Friday, April 15, 2011

Lame Excuses: Why Christians Aren't More Hospitable

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My house is way too small.
I don't have time to cook.
We are a busy family.
No one ever invites us over.
I always feel like my house is on display.

I don't remember how many times I have used one or more of the above excuses to make myself feel better about not inviting others into our home. I tend to shy away from "putting on" social activities and would rather spend my time reading or writing than planning a party.

It would be a pretty fair assessment to say I'm terrified when it comes time to play hostess.
Hospitality is hard, especially for someone with a quiet personality. You have to be willing to shove fears of interaction aside and step beyond your comfort zone - all while remembering to refill snack bowls and pour drinks. As hostess, you often feel responsible for keeping the conversation flowing and the mood relaxed and pleasant. By the end of the night, you've exerted so much energy you fall into a crumpled heap on the bed as soon as your guests have exited the door. Still, your responsibilities have yet to end. The next morning, you begrudgingly conquer those dirty dishes lying in the sink, because you were simply too exhausted to wash them the night before.

For someone like my husband, being around people gives him an abundance of energy, but as my previous description hints, being hospitable sends my energy level right down the drain.

You now know my excuse....... but what about yours?
  • Are you worried others will judge your decor because it pales in comparison to Country Living's feature home? 
  • Are you frustrated with a small living room or dining room and assume guests will feel cramped inside your living space? 
  • Does your schedule leave little room to enjoy anothers' company?
Define your reasons for not inviting guests into your home and then confront each one of them head on.

My alone time and quiet nights with my hubby may be precious, but life is a vapor, and God does not give us an infinite number of chances to impact the lives of His children. Knowing this will not eliminate all my fears at opening my home to others, but it does give me a greater sense of purpose to unselfishly give more of my time and energy.

The day my grandma bought her house she told the Lord that it was His property, and she would use her home to glorify Him. Since then, she has hosted countless numbers of missionaries on furlough as well as family moving in between housing situations (including Joseph and I). Holidays are never reserved for only family - if someone in church might be spending Christmas or Thanksgiving alone, she invites them over to join our celebration. She is truly a remarkable example of Christian hospitality.

Think of creative ways you can use your home for Jesus....
  • Could you host a small baby shower for a new mother?
  • Do you have an extra bedroom to give a missionary a few nights stay? 
  • Is there a couple you would really like to know better, and could perhaps invite them over for a casual game night?
I sure have a long way to go if I am going to be anything like my Grandma, but her attitude encourages me to view my home not only as a roof over my head, but also as a tool for Christ.

I would love to hear your thoughts - Do any of you have ideas on how to be more hospitable?


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