Once upon a time that sort of request would have sent me into a sheer panic but today I welcome any opportunity to open up our home to others and have become accustomed to 'last minute' hospitality. We dashed around the house checking bathrooms and picking up toys; homeschool books and papers were removed and a table was discovered! I whipped up a batch of banana choc chip muffins as the twins ran around proclaiming 'the Canadians are coming!' They just love it when people visit our home and are the most enthusiastic members of our welcoming committee!
Don't wait until all your renovations are done before you start inviting people home!
Plain biscuits and a cup of tea were a starting place but as we kept on inviting people home my confidence grew as did my baking abilities. As I began to cultivate my homemaking skills and studied God's Word to gain an understanding of the true nature of Christian hospitality as opposed to 'entertaining' more and more opportunities to put it all into practice came our way. People were literally being sent to our doorstep! People from different countries, cultures and occasionally people who I would never have imagined inviting myself but I had said to the Lord 'Send us the people you want us to reach not just those I think are potential 'friend material'. If you pray this kind of prayer be prepared. That's all I'm going to say for the moment!
I have given some thought to how I might share from my heart about hospitality and encourage others who want to open up their homes to others. You've probably read books on the subject and you already know the Scriptures on hospitality, the Bible stories about entertaining strangers and understand that hospitality is not an optional extra or a calling just for the talented cooks in the church!
You've read the blog posts on gracious hospitality and how to set a table. You are not serving a fish course so the information on correct order of cutlery is actually not that useful! You don't need any more muffin recipes - your folder is already bulging (my advice - use the same basic recipe and add different flavours) but you are still intimidated by the prospect of cooking for others even when you have a week to prepare. It's worse when you know the wife visiting is a talented cook! Friends are fine but strangers - that's daunting. Just one family for lunch you can cope with but catering for a crowd is an entirely different matter but you would love to try sometime.
So many different situations - all calling for us to be hospitable and we are all affected by different circumstances and may be in different seasons. I would have dearly loved to have some of the young Canadian people stay with us but we are a bit short on spare rooms at present - unless they were prepared to sleep in a hammock outside! Before our family grew we had a designated guest room and billeted people but we can all offer hospitality in unique and different ways. Your home can also be a base of operations - you take the hospitality out of the home when you deliver a meal to a new mother or visit the neighbour and take her some cuttings from your garden. It's not all about gourmet cooking or even whipping up batches of muffins - that was just my means of saying welcome and feeding our guests when I had little time to prepare.
I'm going to share some stories about hospitality from a very personal perspective. Of giving and receiving hospitality. Each experience was a lesson in how to love and serve others. Watch out for my first hospitality story which I'm entitling 'Tea and Honey Sandwiches' which taught me that sometimes God expects us to give when we think we have nothing to give.
Until next time,
With Love and Joy,