Hospitality Starts at Home

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My house is constantly
filled with visitors.  Since my son is the only grandchild for my
parents and my in-laws, they come to see us almost every month.  Then we
have friends who come to stay with us.  It is becomes a rare weekend
when we don’t have someone staying over.  This past weekend was no
exception.  I really don’t mind having people stay in my home.  I have a
designated guest room that we have furnished and decorated to make
stays pleasant.  We try to be gracious hosts and having everything
someone might need to be comfortable.  Being a good host is able
anticipating needs and being ready to meet the unexpected ones.


(Image courtesy of momza.blogspot.com)

I think of the passage in the Letter to the Romans where Paul outlines the marks of a true Christian:

“Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers” (Romans 12:13).


Radical
hospitality, the kind that Christians are called to observe, the kind
modeled for us way back in the Book of Genesis by Abraham (Genesis
18:2-8), is based upon going above and beyond so that our acts of
hosting are exceedingly gracious.  Why would be go so far?  Why should
our hospitality be so profound?  Simply because we are the recipients of
profound grace and blessings that go well beyond our deserving.  We
show our gratitude to God by extending our love and care of others and
attributing our motives to God.  I don’t strive to be a good hostess
because of Martha Stewart or some cultural notion of Southern
Hospitality; I do it because caring for others is a foundational virtue
in Christianity.  God has always cared for me, even when I was being far
less than a good Christian. 

I practice hospitality in my
home.  Then I practice it at my job, making my office a warm, inviting,
and safe place for people to rest and talk.  Then I try to extend that
to wherever I go.  I offer up my seat to those who need to rest.  I hold
the door for those who have their hands full.  I let others go first,
because I am not in a rush.  My hospitality at home has been to friends
and family thus far, but I am becoming more and more accustomed to this
way of being that I do show it to strangers.  I think that one day I
will get to the point where I can have them in my home as well.  When
that day comes, someone who does not know my personally will get to know
me through my acts as host and the way they feel in my home.  I try to
be always thoughtful because someone is bound to look at me and make a
connection between my life as a Christian and the way I act.  It might
as well be a positive connection rather than the stereotypical,
hypocritical one.  While I could hide from the world in my home, I can
never hide from God here.  So I might as well start making a difference
here and carry it with me out into the world.  This world could use a
little love and care.

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