“Come on over for dinner,” was my friend’s simple invitation. Her door was open; no need to knock. Delicious smells lured me into the kitchen. While Barbara flitted from stove to table, divvying up food on the plates, my shoulders relaxed as I quietly sighed. I could breathe.
Merely knowing I wasn’t alone softened the edges of my hurting heart. My little boy and I gathered around the table with Barbara’s family. I sensed an invisible cord of belonging. I was the blessed recipient of true hospitality. As the dinner progressed, my initial feelings of shock, fear, and dismay melted into comfort and ease as familiar, mundane dinner chatter brought a much needed respite. It was comforting to hear, “Pass the salt,” and “Knock-knock, who’s there?”
Crispy green celery sticks stuffed with crunchy peanut butter. That's the only menu item I recall from the meal, because the food isn’t what really mattered. I needed to experience some normalcy amidst my devastation, and I did. Hope was served.
I remember how Barbara made me feel. Wanted. Accepted. Important. She prepared the meal and served us heaping plates, but the sustenance I received was more than food. Everyone needs a meal when the stomach is hungry, but my soul was hungry, and my friend fed it.
Share what you have with the saints, so they lack nothing; take every opportunity to open your life and your home to others (Romans 12:13, The Voice).
Earlier that day, in my little home, despair overwhelmed me. Several weeks prior, my husband walked out on our young son and me - pregnant with our daughter. No amount of begging or reasoning swayed him. He’d been drawn into, what seemed to him, a more carefree life with someone else. Just by inviting me into their home, my friends lifted my spirit out of feeling abandoned and rejected.
Barbara’s gift of hospitality made an indelible mark on my heart. Her gift to me spurred me on to open my door countless times through the years since. My suffering, soothed with Barbara’s hospitality, ignited a passion to encourage other hurting women.
Don’t forget to extend your hospitality to all– even to strangers– for as you know, some have unknowingly shown kindness to heavenly messengers in this way (Hebrews 13:2).
How about you? Do you know the joy of extending biblical hospitality? Have you ever been on the receiving end? I encourage you to reach out to your neighbors and even to people you don’t know. We, the Church, are the body of Christ. We are the ones called to open our doors and share what we have with others. We are Christ’s ambassadors.
There are folks all around us who are discouraged like I was and need attention. Most people come into a relationship with Jesus through building a friendship. There’s no better way to make friends than to be hospitable.
If you’re an introvert like me, inviting neighbors into your home may feel overwhelming or draining; but, if I can do it, so can you! You’ll be fulfilled knowing you’ve made a significant difference in someone’s life, just like my friend Barbara did in mine.
Hospitality 101: Invite, Prepare, Serve
- Deliver the invitation. (Phone, text, in person…)
- Make or pick up muffins.
- Clear the entryway of toys and clutter.
- Turn on lamps.
- Light a candle.
- Cut greenery from your yard and place in a vase.
- Swish the toilet and swipe the counter.
- Never apologize for disarray or imperfections in your home.
- Serve the muffins and pour some coffee or tea.
- Don’t monopolize the conversation.
- Focus on your guest and listen well.
- Enjoy the moment, and thank God for the opportunity.