Since being married last year my wonderful wife has made it a point to practice and pursue hospitality intentionally. Although we may not always have the time with work and school we have found that hospitality can potentially be one of the most neglected disciplines of the church. Ultimately hospitality is rooted in gratitude for God’s grace towards us. As one person has said, “To be a good steward of God’s grace means we let our hospitality be an extension of God’s hospitality to us. Grace is the hospitality of God to welcome sinners not because of their goodness, but because of his glory.”
Lydia Brownback has reposted some practical tips and habits from a friend of hers on hospitality. Below is an excerpt.
My friend Susie Cassel is the personification of hospitality. She opens her home to friend and stranger alike, and she is always prepared for drop-by guests. One-on-one or large groups–Susie hostesses all with grace and love. Her practical tips are well-worth sharing. Susie bases her open-door attitude on Romans 12:13: “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality” and on 1 Peter 4:9: “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” Susie says that when seeking to have a hospitable heart, there are four primary things to keep in mind:
1) Hospitality isn’t based on having the “right” house.
2) Hospitality isn’t always convenient.
3) Hospitality isn’t always comfortable.
4) Hospitality is always about serving others.
Susie defines two distinct types of hospitality, both of which we should prepare our hearts to offer. First is calculated hospitality, which includes hosting our friends, making meals for the sick–basically, the sort we can plan ahead. The second type is spontaneous hospitality, which is opening our home and heart to that drop-in neighbor or friend who calls at an inconvenient time. How we handle spontaneous hospitality is a matter of mindset, of putting others ahead of our personal comfort. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t great rewards for such service: generosity comes back on our heads! But, primarily, every time we open our homes and hearts to someone in need, it is Jesus we are serving. Do we think about that? Do we see today’s interruption or inconvenience as an opportunity to love Christ? Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt. 5:40).