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Hospitality

Hospitality: Scary or Sacred?

Today's Scripture - 1 Peter 4:9

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Today's Devotional

When I say the word “hospitality” what’s your response? Does it scare you? Or heap guilt onto your already heavy heart? Does it seem like just one more thing to do on your overcrowded list? Do you wish you knew how to show hospitality? Well, my guess is that you may have all of these responses. I know I do. For many us, the idea of entertaining guests seems overwhelming. Many of us don’t even have time to cook for our own families let alone for guests. I also know women who feel they don’t have a nice enough home to invite people in. When you add up the pressure of our busy lives, our insecurities and, frankly, the lack of teaching on the subject of hospitality many of us simply avoid the subject. But when we avoid this subject, we miss out on a great blessing both to others and for ourselves.

Surprisingly the Bible speaks quite a bit about hospitality. For instance, today’s verse 1 Peter 4:9 says we are to, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” Well now, that’s a little convicting, isn’t it? What causes you to grumble at the thought of inviting guests into your home? Do you feel you have to be perfect? Does it have to be just the right time and the right food and it’s never exactly right?

Rather than convicting I think it’s comforting to know that God understands it isn’t easy for most of us to be hospitable. Surrounding today’s verse Peter offers helpful hints on how to be cheerfully hospitable. He mentions such things as praying and showing godly love. And he ends this passage with the encouragement of 1 Peter 4:11which says that God will provide the strength we need to serve others.

A further study of God’s Word gives plenty of examples of the importance of being hospitable. In the Old Testament Abraham and Sarah showed hospitality, as did Abigail. In the New Testament Timothy lists hospitality as a qualification for Church elders. Aquila and Priscilla were a husband-wife team whose hospitality had far-reaching effects on the Early Church. When you think about it, Jesus often fed people before He preached. We can follow His example. Often doors can be opened in the hearts of friends when we first open the door of our home to them. Hospitality doesn’t have to be so scary when you see it as being a sacred opportunity to show God’s love to others.

If you’re interested in learning how to open your home to others I have a book I’d love to send you. It is a book author Quin Sherrer has written called The Warm and Welcome Home. It’s full of commonsense and practical tips to help make your home a blessing to others. E-mail me if you would like to have a copy of Quin’s book.

We can all learn to show hospitality without grumbling.

My Personal Reflection on Today's Lesson

Circle key words or phrases in today’s Bible reading. Then reflect on the following:

  • What message do these words or phrases have for me?
  • What new or re-newed insight did I gain from the readings or today’s thought?
  • What encouragement does God have for me today?

My Response to God Today

Write out a prayer to God, telling him what you learned today and asking him to meet a specific need in your life.

 

 

 

 

Hospitality: Heart and Home

Today's Scripture - Proverbs 3:33

The LORD’S curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.

Today's Devotional

This week our topic is hospitality and today I suggest that hospitality begins in the heart and at home. If you yearn to open your heart and your home to others the best place to start is with your own family in your own home. Author Quin Sherrer shares that she finally got a hold on how to show hospitality when she finally realized that the more Christ was at home in her heart, the more He would be at home in her home. She took the first steps toward being hospitable by walking with Jesus through every room of her house. I encourage you to do the same. Invite Jesus to sit at your table and listen to family conversation. At the same time, invite Him to lend a listening ear to your thoughts. Open every closet in your home to him and let Him see the clutter and while you’re at it give him access to every dark corner of your heart. You will find that when you do this you will prepare both your home and yourself for welcoming others.

Quin also said she read in her Bible that a good bit of Jesus’ ministry was home centered. Search the Scriptures yourself and you will discover that Jesus enjoyed going to the Bethany home of Mary and Martha. He was a guest of Zacchaeus and went to Peter’s home for supper. In fact on more that 20 occasions Jesus participated in a meal or told a parable related to a mealtime experience.

Author Karen Mains asks an interesting question. “Why is it always easier to extend the courtesies of hospitality to those outside our immediate families?” She goes on to say that she had to ask herself if all her gracious open-house business counted if she acted like a hellion the hour before company arrived? Karen came to the conclusion that “Hospitality, like charity, in order to be true, has to begin at home.”

If the whole idea of hospitality is overwhelming to you, begin today to prepare your heart to love others. Then start practicing by showing hospitality to your family. They’ll love it and you’ll gain confidence. Here are some suggestions. Make mealtime special. Set the table with place mats and real plates, even if you’re having pizza delivered. Try a new recipe when you can. Rather than thinking of cooking as a chore look at it as a way of giving a love offering to your family. You can also make such things as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays times to be really special. Think of a clever centerpiece for the table; involve the children in menu planning. Have some fun as you use these special times as trial runs for having others in your home. The more you do it the more comfortable and confident you’ll become as a hostess.

Today’s Scripture is Proverbs 3:33, which says: …the Lord blesses the home of the righteous. May God bless your home as you learn to show hospitality to those you love most – your family.

My Personal Reflection on Today's Lesson

Circle key words or phrases in today’s Bible reading. Then reflect on the following:

  • What message do these words or phrases have for me?
  • What new or re-newed insight did I gain from the readings or today’s thought?
  • What encouragement does God have for me today?

My Response to God Today

Write out a prayer to God, telling him what you learned today and asking him to meet a specific need in your life.

 

 

 

 

Hospitality: Principle and Practice

Today's Scripture - Romans 12:13

Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Today's Devotional

Does the very term “hospitality” put you off? What do you think of when you think of hospitality? Something everyone else does perfectly? Way too much time and money. Stress. If hospitality is just a scary thing to you reserved only for those Proverbs 31 women, I have some encouraging words for you today. I want to shed some light on both the principle and the practice of hospitality in the hopes of helping you overcome your fear.

The principle behind the concept of hospitality is biblical. The Scriptures exhort us to share with God’s people who are in need. According to the Bible our motivation should not be the social-circle-game of tag we so often play. You know the one that goes “You had me over so now I have to have you over.” The inspiration to show hospitality is one of love. Jesus himself said we are to love one another and one of the ways we can do this is to invite people into our homes for a meal and fellowship. In Luke 14 Jesus clearly teaches, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brother or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Jesus was teaching in this passage about not seeking honor for yourself and he was illustrating the coming Kingdom of God. But He also points out that many of us invite people into our homes not to humbly show the love of Christ, but to move in the right social circles.

The Bible is also clear that even though we understand this biblical principle, showing hospitality doesn’t come naturally. It requires some practice. Listen to today’s Scripture which succinctly sums up both the principle and the need for practice. Romans 12:13 says, “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Let’s be honest. Being hospitable is not always easy. As a matter of fact, it’s often very inconvenient. It does take energy and it takes practice. When you start to practice hospitality it may feel awkward at first. But the more you do it, the easier it will become.

Keep in mind that Christian hospitality is different from social entertaining. Entertaining focuses on you – your home has to be spotless; the food homemade and beautifully presented; and you have to at least appear to be relaxed and the belle of the ball. Hospitality, on the other hand, focuses on the guest. What are their needs? A listening ear or acceptance? A warm meal or a place to stay? Hospitality can happen in a messy home and it can happen around a dinner table where the main dish is canned soup.

O dear friend, don’t hesitate to offer hospitality because you’re afraid you won’t measure up. Remember, the principle is biblical. The motivation is love. The focus is on your guest. And it takes lots of practice!

My Personal Reflection on Today's Lesson

Circle key words or phrases in today’s Bible reading. Then reflect on the following:

  • What message do these words or phrases have for me?
  • What new or re-newed insight did I gain from the readings or today’s thought?
  • What encouragement does God have for me today?

My Response to God Today

Write out a prayer to God, telling him what you learned today and asking him to meet a specific need in your life.

 

 

 

 

Hospitality: Etiquette and Encouragement

Today's Scripture - Hebrews 10:24

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Today's Devotional

This week’s devotional topic is “hospitality” which is a way we can demonstrate Christ’s love through the good deed of having people into our home. For many women, though, the thought of having others into their home is scary. The desire is there but knowing how to make it work is staggering. If that is how you feel I’d like to spur you on in your desire to show hospitality by giving you some practical pointers to simplify what may feel like an overwhelming task.

Author Quin Sherrer is a mature Christian woman who has some hospitality hints that I’ll share with you. Here are some of her suggestions:

  • Saturate your home with prayer before guests arrive. Ask God to express His love through you and allow your guests to feel His presence in your home.
  • Have Christian music playing softly as guests arrive to create an atmosphere of praise.
  • Greet your guests warmly with a smile and a handshake or hug.
  • Always say the blessing before the meal – either in a group before serving or at the table.
  • Prepare ahead of time if possible. Set the table the night before and prepare as much food as possible before people arrive.
  • Let you husband help!
  • Never apologize for how your house looks if company comes unexpectedly.
  • If you have teenagers, let them invite their friends to your home often. Hospitality doesn’t have to be a formal adults-only dinner.
  • When possible and not distracting let your children have the opportunity of meeting your guests and when appropriate sit at the table with the adults.

If preparing a complete meal is unrealistic for you Quin gives some great ideas to make even the most casual meal fun.

  • Have a brown bag party and have everyone bring their sack lunch. You can make a picnic out of it even if it’s cold outside and you sit on the living room floor.
  • Ask another family to bring their Sunday dinner over and combine it with yours.
  • Invite friends over after supper for dessert. You can fix the dessert yourself or ask guests to bring their favorite dessert to share. By the way, store-bought is just fine.
  • And if someone asks, “What can I bring?” Ask them what they’d like to bring. Then let them bring it.

Yes, showing hospitality is a good work of demonstrating Christ’s love. Sometimes you just need some good workable ideas to get you started. If you would like further encouragement in this area I do have some copies of Quin Sherrer’s book The Warm and Welcome Home and I would be happy to send you one as long as they last. Just e-mail me at and ask for The Warm and Welcome Home.

And remember to pray for God to help you make your home both warm and welcome.

My Personal Reflection on Today's Lesson

Circle key words or phrases in today’s Bible reading. Then reflect on the following:

  • What message do these words or phrases have for me?
  • What new or re-newed insight did I gain from the readings or today’s thought?
  • What encouragement does God have for me today?

My Response to God Today

Write out a prayer to God, telling him what you learned today and asking him to meet a specific need in your life.

 

 

 

 

Hospitality: Saints and Strangers

Today's Scripture - Hebrews 13:2

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

Today's Devotional

Today’s Scripture is a familiar one when we think of showing hospitality. It is Hebrews 13:2 and says, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” The Life Application Bible gives this commentary on Hebrews 13:2: “…Some people say they cannot be hospitable because their homes are not large enough or nice enough. But even if you have no more than a table and two chairs in a rented room there are people who would be grateful to spend time in your home…. Hospitality simply means making other people feel comfortable and at home.”

I agree that there are many people just in our churches, (visitors, singles, missionaries, for example) who would be delighted to spend some time with you regardless of where you live. But, to be honest, in this day and age I really don’t know how this concept of entertaining strangers safely works.

You see, sometimes we entertain strangers and they do turn out to be angels. But all strangers are not angels. Some are just strangers. So we must take our good intentions to the Lord and allow Him to open our hearts and our homes to those of His choice.

One Christian woman suggests that you pray and ask God to do several things regarding entertaining strangers.

Pray for God to…

  • send the people of His choice to your home
  • choose the time they should come and how long they should stay
  • protect you from people who would misuse your hospitality
  • give you spiritual insight to know how to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of your guests
  • keep your own spirit open to the blessing God has planned for you to receive from your guests

When you seek the Lord’s guidance regarding hospitality you’ll be surprised at the variety of people He’ll send your way. Your joy will be multiplied when you share His love with those who genuinely need to feel God’s healing touch. And you will be blessed as you minister to God’s chosen strangers. The greatest blessing is to remember the Bible says that when you give these needy ones something to eat and to drink, when you invite a stranger in and give her clothes, when you look after someone who is sick, or just released from prison….you are not only showing hospitality to a possible angel you are ministering to Jesus.

There is a flip side to this coin. I remember one period in my life when it seemed that our home had a revolving door. I love to practice hospitality, but after several months of steady guests, I was getting weary. If you are in such a place right now I’d like to encourage you by saying that whether you are praying for God to send you saints and strangers or you are weary with all the guests, the solution is the same. Go to Jesus – He will help you find the balance and give you rest so you can do good as you have the opportunity without getting weary.

My Personal Reflection on Today's Lesson

Circle key words or phrases in today’s Bible reading. Then reflect on the following:

  • What message do these words or phrases have for me?
  • What new or re-newed insight did I gain from the readings or today’s thought?
  • What encouragement does God have for me today?

My Response to God Today

Write out a prayer to God, telling him what you learned today and asking him to meet a specific need in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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