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.
1 Peter 4:8-10 (NIV)
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. I was so touched by the sincerity of the card, but how could we be dear friends when we always seem to be so busy whenever she calls? We’re always coming and going, and our house is packed with three kids and their teenage friends. Our lives are sometimes utter chaos, and 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?
On Christmas Eve, a cheese ball and crackers showed up at our door, beautifully presented and again another lovely card written to “Dear friends.”
Then a phone call came, and a message was left by Virginia saying, “I’m home now!” The sad part was I wasn’t even aware that she was gone. I began to feel convicted because this generous woman clearly loved and needed our family more than we knew.
Virginia’s gift for hospitality has blessed our family now for four 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 to call me if she ever needed anything. She has several times, and we’ve helped her in various ways.
The word “hospitality” seems to be a scary word for many. In our busyness, we are fearful of commitment, of something taking us away from “our” time. Or we think hospitality only means hosting a huge party or bringing a potluck dish to a gathering. But the blessing of hospitality can be as simple as taking a piece of leftover cake or pie to your neighbor. It can be making sandwiches for the homeless once a week. It’s this kind of hospitality that doesn’t have anything to do with whether you have a home or the state of your home.
It has nothing to do with gourmet food or the perfect timing of a gift. It sometimes starts with a spark, thinking about someone else first, and then acting on the idea by following through with a blessing.
Perhaps it comes down to this simple truth: Hospitality isn’t about you. It’s about making others feel warm and welcome. It’s friendliness, a caring attitude, and sometimes 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 and how did you live out the simplicity of hospitality?
Originally written by Sandy Coughlin for (in)courage in 2011.
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I love that line about hospitality. I am a single woman and while I’ve tried to do some “entertaining”, providing a big meal isn’t in my skill set! But, I’ve had a few friends over and put out cold cuts and the makings for sandwiches, and a nice salad. I’ve hosted a “tea party” for two friends, their moms and their daughters… I need to remember to do things like that more often! I think hospitality isn’t always about food, either. Stopping to chat with the “new” person at work, making them feel like part of the team…that’s important too! And don’t forget the single adults you know…not very many invite us over, to be honest. The young people at church? Yes, it’s “fun” to host a young people’s evening. But the 50-60ish single woman or man? Not so much fun. It’s one reason I think singles need to do the asking!
Way to go Trudi! Thanks for the reminder for the single people out there.
Anne B says
Ah, hospitality. When we do the small things it makes it simple. We humans always have a tendency to complicate things. I was able to show hospitality to a neighbor this past summer by picking up some fruits and vegetables at our local market. She was pregnant and confined to home with Covid floating around. It was something simple for me but meant the world to her 🙂
Beth Williams says
Most people think hospitality is about hosting people at your house. We feel we can’t do that unless our house is perfectly clean. Kind of reminds me of Martha vs Mary. Hospitality is simply doing for others. Being there in some form. Last month my pastor & his wife were preparing to move her mom down here. Knowing all the work involved in getting the house ready I made a chicken pot pie & some bread for them to enjoy. Last Saturday I made cookies for a local Loaves & Fishes missions to help feed homeless & less fortunate. Also helped a man there make some food boxes.
This year an RN & I helped an RN co-worker move. For a housewarming gift I made a large baked spaghetti with meatballs for us to eat that day & for her to have while moving & working. I also made some blueberry bread for her & her dad to eat while dealing with aging dad’s cancer. Made some pumpkin bread for another couple who are both dealing with cancer. I enjoy cooking for others & want to help them in any way I can. I think of it as being the hands & feet of Jesus. Truth be told it doesn’t take much effort.