Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Hospitality-What It Is and What It Isn't-Pt. 3
Emilie Barnes has a book called "The Spirit of Loveliness". She has written many wonderful things about this subject. Let me just quote what she has to say about hospitality.
She says, "Hospitality is so much more than entertaining, so much more than menus and decorating and putting on a show. To me it means organizing my life in such a way that there is always room for one more, an extra place at the table or an extra pillow and blanket, always a welcome for those who need a listening ear. It means setting aside time for planned fellowship and setting aside lesser priorities for impromptu gatherings”.
Nancy Leigh Demoss goes on to say, "The ministry of hospitality is one of the key factors that explains how Christianity was able to expand and advance so rapidly into the New Testament first century world. It was because of the love that Christians showed for each other. The way they showed that love was through hospitality.
When the pagans looked at the Christians, they were forced to acknowledge, "see how they love one another. They welcome each other. They eat together, even people who were in different socio-economic levels, eat together. And they come into each other's homes. They love each other. They are ready to die for each other."
Hospitality involves work. It involves effort. And it involves sharing what belongs to you and sometimes sacrificing if you don't have a lot. "
(My words here...I was so convicted while doing this study, that I asked my husband if we could plan to have a different couple over once a month. I realized that it had been months since we had had a couple over for dinner. I have people over for lunch, but realized that I had totally hindered my husband from practicing hospitality as well. He said yes, but he wanted to have it planned, no spontanous stuff! I can deal with that, so now I try to give him the courtesy of planning ahead of time.)
Nancy continues to say, "Do you pursue hospitality? Are you intentional about it? Or do you just do it on holidays and special occasions when it's expected? Is hospitality for you a way of life? Paul says, "Pursue hospitality."
Um, and, yes, sometimes it does create pressure. But ask God to give you a heart that is cheerful in your hospitality.
Say "Lord, I will pursue hospitality. And by the filling of Your Spirit within me, I will do it without murmuring, without complaining, without grumbling but with joy," because I know that God loves a cheerful giver."
(My words here...For me, and I suppose for many women, one of the biggest challenges is just the schedule, time to be hospitable. Now, I don't want to put anybody on a guilt trip. There are seasons for everything in life. But I also believe, if we are too busy to be hospitable in some way, that we're too busy. And we need to stop and evaluate our priorities and say, "Am I doing the right things? Am I filling my time with the right things?")
Nancy continues to say this, "When I hear that people don't have time to be hospitable, I want to ask, "How many evenings have you spent watching T.V. in the last year? And are there some of those evenings that maybe you could have been opening your home to people and ministering with hospitality."
It doesn't have to be a big holiday feast that you prepare for people you don't know but starting simple may help with some of those fears.
You can have very little to offer. But if you offer peace and joy and the presence of Christ with it, if it's peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or it's pizza that you order, something very simple, it can still be a real meaningful thing to people if the spirit of that home is one where the presence of Christ is evident.
You don't have to throw on a five-course meal to be hospitable. It can be very simple. I've been in some small homes, simple homes, simple meals, and had some of the richest, most meaningful fellowship in some of those homes--the people who were willing to share what little bit they had."
Hang in there! There is one more...