1 Peter 4:8-10, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 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 its various forms.”
It was a long holiday weekend and the card came in the mail. A beautiful card, simply signed, “Virginia.”
She wrote a note that began: Dear Friends. Dear friends? How can she call us “dear friends” when we always seem to be so busy? We’re coming and going, our house is packed with 3 kids and their teenage friends. Our lives are sometimes utter chaos, as we barely wave to her when we pass her house. Aren’t dear friends ones who have regular access to our lives? Who are there with you in thick and thin? I was so touched by the sincerity of this card .
Then the phone call came. A message was left by Virginia saying, “I’m home now!” The sad part is I wasn’t even aware that she was gone. It was at that point that I began to feel convicted, because this generous woman clearly loved and needed our family more than we knew.
A few months before the phone call, a cheese ball and crackers showed up at our door on Christmas Eve. Beautifully presented, and again, another lovely card written to … Dear Friends.
Virginia’s gift for hospitality has blessed our family now for 4 years. When we moved into this home, I went around our neighborhood introducing myself and our family. I exchanged phone numbers and in Virginia’s case, I told her if she EVER needed anything to call me. And she has several times, and we have helped her in various ways.
The word “hospitality” seems to be a scary word for many. Because in our busyness I believe we are fearful of a commitment, or a taking away from “us” time. Or we think of its meaning only as a “potluck dish,” or the hosting of a huge party. The blessing of hospitality, and I’ve tried to teach it to my children, can be as simple as taking a piece of leftover cake or pie to your neighbor. Or making sandwiches for the homeless once a week in the park. It’s this kind of hospitality that doesn’t have anything to do with whether you have a home, the state of your home, or the expectations in your home.
It has nothing to do with gourmet food, a perfect home, or even perfect timing. It sometimes starts with a spark, thinking about others first, and then acting on that idea by following through with a blessing.
Commandment 1 (of my Ten Commandments of Hospitality) in my new book is very simple: Hospitality is not about you. It’s about making others feel warm and welcome.
It’s about friendliness, a caring attitude, and sometimes that means putting the grumbling aside – all ways of showing love and revealing God’s grace.
When’s the last time you reached out to someone in need, or do you get hung up by complicating the beauty and simplicity of hospitality?
Top photo: The imperfect cake that my daughter made to share with our neighbors.
By Sandy, Reluctant EntertainerLeave a Comment