The Heart of Hospitality

Hospitality: the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

There it is- the simple yet difficult definition of hospitality. We read it on paper, and it sounds so easy until it’s our time to practice it. Opening up our home shouldn’t be something that intimidates us, but a lot of times it does. I think it’s because we have believed the lie that when we invite others into our home, it has to be flawless. First, we need to fix the imperfections within our home to make it ready for company. Did you know the best hospitality I’ve ever experienced has been in third world countries with families who have little to nothing? Their home was the size of an american walk in closet, and yet they joyfully invited guests in with no reservations. I don’t know about you, but if I’m not prepared, that is incredibly difficult to do. Which goes to show me that hospitality is way more than appearance, but instead lies within the heart.

Hospitality is vulnerability. When you open your home, you open your heart. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes. That’s how true relationships form.

Hospitality is when you open your home, even when you aren’t feeling it. Yes, when you’re downright exhausted and unprepared. Push through. You never know how the simple gesture of opening your home can impact someone’s life.

Hospitality is letting go of perfection. This is a hard one, especially with kiddos. If perfection is the goal, it’ll drive us crazy trying to reach it. Plus, your guests will probably feel more at home with a sink full of dishes 😉.

Hospitality is about making every person who enters your home feel a sense of belonging. There is no quicker thing to make you feel uncomfortable, and unable to relax than when you don’t feel accepted in a home. We all want to be accepted just as we are, and not for what we can offer, achieve, but just for who we are. Invite guests into your home the way you’d want to be welcomed.

Hospitality is giving up control. Sometimes opening up our home comes unexpectedly, and requires flexibility.

Hospitality is tangibly showing the love of Jesus. We get to serve those who walk through our door. Not have to but get to. What better way to show love to our neighbors than by serving them?

Hospitality is about connecting with your closest friends, AND the hard to love people in your life.  There is a time for strengthening relationships that are already established, and a time when you’ll have to host those who have hurt you. Ask God for a heart of compassion and strength. It’s not easy, but remember you can set the tone of love and grace for your home. 

Hospitality is being present. We can either be a Martha or a Mary. Martha was busy making sure everything was in place, while Mary was simply present. Give the gift of presence to your guests.

Hospitality is an art, and some people have mastered it. I grew up in a home where the door was always open, and my hope is that I can continue that legacy. Learn from people with the gift of hospitality, and practice it. Just keep taking steps in obedience, and grow along the way.



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