Tuesday, July 1, 2008

HOSPITALITY

When was the last time you invited somebody over for dinner? It doesn't have to be fancy schmancy. You can just pick up a pkg of cheap hamburger and buns and grill out burgers. If you don't have a grill, then fry them in a skillet. You could even just slap together some good old bologna sandwiches. Toss some chips in a bowl, make a batch of cookies. You can even use your leftover chicken, to make a pot of chicken and dumplings. People don't really care what you fix them. It's just healthy to fellowship with other believers. We invited a large family over recently and they were surprised first of all, at the invite, because of the size of their family. After they arrived, they commented that it had been probably 10 years since they had had a dinner invite to someone's house! I'm sure that's probably so, we invite a lot of folks over, but I don't see a lot of others doing that. There are a few, but for the most part people just don't do it anymore. Not sure why. Too busy? Nah! No space? Nah! Money? Eh, maybe, but that doesn't need to stop you.

You can't really get to know someone when you only see them at church. But when you sit down to dinner together with someone and fellowship, you can really start to get to know them well. People relax and you can laugh and maybe even share burdens and prayer needs with each other. After dinner, you can brew a pot of coffee, break out the homemade cookies and reach for your favorite game, as everyone gathers around the table to join in the play.

I remember when my Honey and I were first married. We learned from his folks, the obedience and importance of fellowship. We lived in a TINY 2 bedroom apartment. There really was no dining room to speak of, it was jut kind of an afterthought to the side of the kitchen. Our table wasn't much bigger than a card table and we had 4 metal folding chairs. And counter space.... HA! It is too laugh! This is how we remedied that obstacle. We would invite someone over. Fix them a modest dinner for our budget. I would set up my ironing board in the living room and cover it with a sheet and we would use that as our buffet. LOL Everyone would fix their plate and we would sit in the living room to eat. Hey, it worked! And I'm thankful we started early, getting our feet wet, so to speak, in this area of hospitality. Over the years, I have learned to be comfortable with people coming into our home. I like to hear folks say they felt right at home, while they were here. That is my goal, to put people at ease. I don't want them to feel like they can't be themselves around us.
My Honey preaches often that the church should be a "hospital" for hurting people. Well our homes should be no different. People from all walks of life are just hurting, for one reason or another. Could be sickness, marriage problems, financial woes (who doesn't have those these days?), family issues, trouble on the job. The list is endless. But people don't walk around carrying signs that say "I'm hurting, because...." They just hurt, and it's our job to help bear their burdens.
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
And a good way to help with that is to have them in your home for fellowship. You don't even have to fix them a full dinner. You can fix snacks or just have dessert. Invite them over for pie and coffee. The idea is to just DO IT.

And don't worry about your house. If you're waiting until this gets fixed or that gets fixed, you'll never have anyone over. Your house will never be perfect. People don't come to see your house, they come to see YOU. So do what you can to make it clean and neat and a good testimony and don't worry about the rest! Relax! And don't let "space" be an obstacle to you. Remember my ironing board? LOL And now with the warmer weather upon us, you could even move outside to eat.

I just want to really encourage you to take a minute today and ask the Lord to put someone on your heart that could use a little encouragement. Then get on the phone and invite them over for SOMETHING.
"Use hospitality one to another without grudging." I Peter 4:9

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Romans 12:9-13
Just because hospitality is last on the list up there, doesn't mean it's of any less importance. We are instructed to DO IT. So who are you going to be hospitable to this week in your home? Care to share?

4 comments:

Julie Fink said...

Thanks for this encouragement. We often have folks over for Sunday dinner and I am amazed at the wonderful things I am able to learn about them as we sit around the dinner table together.

Michelle said...

That is such a great post..Thank you for the encouragemnet!!

Leah said...

Oh Starr, what a good post! I learned from the queen of hospitality (my mom). It surely is a dying art! I'm trying my best to keep it alive though. When we first moved to Georgia, when we were in our apartment, we packed it out too. I often tell people "nobody cares what your house looks like, they are just thrilled to be invited". Because of decisions made in life, my dh and I would never be able to be in the ministy full time, however, we feel our "call" is to minister to the saints. It was wonderful to read your post. Next Friday, we are having our preacher and his family and our Sunday school teacher and his family over to celebrate our 1 year anniversary at Canaan. Love you.

Starr said...

That's wonderful Leah! We need more people like you and your dh! Amd CONGRATS! on 1 year already! My, how time flies!