Hospitality. What does that look like to you? I think of hosting someone for dinner or giving them a place to stay when traveling. Maybe having coffee at my house. I’m stuck on a very literally picture of the word host. Christ has put me on a path to stretch the meaning and scope of this word in my world. Hospitality… Merriam Webster defines hospitality as the generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests. Seems like a simple definition, yet it is so broad at the same time. So often I think the act has to be BIG to be worthy of “counting” in the realm of hosting and serving. I also kind of thought it had to happen on my turf. Like I could only show hospitality by hosting dinner parties at my house. Do you know women who spend their days cooking in the soup kitchen, knitting prayer shawls, making dinner for people in their church, hosting showers for friend’s babies and weddings seemingly on a weekly basis, the list goes on… You know, the hostess with the mostess. Do you look to them feeling exhausted and unable to live up to their kindness? I do. The moms at PTO put me to shame on a regular basis. I’m not up at my kid’s school helping the teachers and counting a million box tops. I don’t bring the pinterest worthy cupcakes and candy pops for parties. I always thought I would be that mom. I want to, but when? What happened to me? Then there is the mission field in Africa, South America, the rest of the world. I’m not feeling heart string tugs to jump on a cross continental flight. What gives? Am I just a slacker? Someone who helps when it is convenient? Too busy? Do I care too little?
This is where our very personal God steps in and highlights His word for me to see and meditate on. Hospitality is really just a large encompassing word that means so many different things. Different things for different people. Christ has me on a journey of discovery. A mission to define the word hospitality for ME. Not for my neighbor, room mom or BFF. This word is so personal. It is personal because God fills us each with gifts. Gifts unique to who He made us to be. These gifts are often how we express hospitality to the world. Inside and outside of our home. Big and little gestures. When we look around and compare ourselves to others and the way they are serving the devil sings with joy. It is a dangerous place.
The key scripture verse that God gave me is 1 Peter 4:9-10, it washes peace over me like waves in the ocean. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in various forms. 1 Peter 4:9-10
Talk about take the pressure off! I’m lucky my own family gets feed on a regular basis much less feeding a soup kitchen! That is unless Totino’s pizza counts. You’ve heard me talk about my lack of knit and purl (as my mother corrected me when I said pearl) ability. Here’s the deal…I wasn’t made to do those things and God doesn’t expect me to! He gave me a whole other set of gifts to serve with. If I muddle through serving where I think I’m supposed to verses where He gifted me I could even rob someone else of being a blessing. Various forms – He says right here; someone else has what you don’t and if you step back they can shine God’s gift in full glory. We don’t have to be everything to everybody. Amen and whew. Once you tap into putting feet to YOUR gifts the “without grumbling” part comes easily. Think about it. What has God filled you with? It may feel untangible or unimportant if you aren’t able to produce something you can put your hands on physically, like a blanket or food. Some people are blessed to be good listeners or can write beautiful uplifting notes of encouragement. Others are dedicated prayer warriors. Maybe you are weird (wink wink) and like to go to the grocery store and run errands. What an amazing way to show love to someone homebound. These types of hospitality are BIG and necessary! Spend some time in prayer and talk with God, see what He reveals. Then you can move forward faithfully administering God’s grace…isn’t that a gorgeous thought?
I have uncovered a desire to show hospitality through decorating. My dear friend Katie is a Jesus loving wife and mom who serves in a multitude of ways. She is the teaching director for our local branch of Community Bible Study. An excellent non-denominational bible study available to all. She also makes AMAZING day planners and prayer journals (check her out – Farm Girl Journals on Etsy). We were chatting one day when she express how she wanted some help moving her office from her house to a little pool house they have out back. God told me, “Here it is. Do this for her. Use your gifts to bless my servant.” Christ has blessed me by yoking me with a friend who has the same call as myself. Her name is Stacie, and she became my partner in crime.
We met, prayed, plotted, planned, painted and pulled off a two room transformation for our first project together. It was a spiritual journey that stretched us, taught us, spoke to us and filled us with joy to serve Christ and offer up our gifts through the project He laid before us. I will share more later of God’s abundance and provision as we prepared for this project (ex: giant pinecones and $3 office chairs). But for now, here it is. Our expression of hospitality to a deserving sister in Christ.
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