Learning to Open Your Life through the Practice of Hospitality
Hospitality can be practiced in many different ways. The gift and practice of hospitality is more than simply being invited into a home. Even though I love planning parties, having people over for dinner, and little mints on pillows, hospitality is more than all these things.
Yet many times I find myself pushing people away. What will they think? Will they be comfortable? My house is too messy, my kids are too loud, or my house is not big enough. I am not enough.
Stop thinking about yourself.
I think we all find ourselves in the situation of only thinking about ourselves. You know what the funny thing is? People are usually not thinking about you.
As a teenager, I remember being so worried about what others would think whenever a pimple would pop up. The pimple was often tiny, but I felt like Rudolph at times with a blaring bulb of a pimple flashing before people, just asking to be made fun of.
But you know what? Every other person is too worried about their own pimple, to notice yours at all. They are often more worried about themselves.
We all tend to make up stories about what we think other people are thinking or saying about us. Often, we get so worked up in our minds before we even have a chance to see what the true story is.
There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth.Robert Evans
Maybe someone is being judgmental and critical.
What does that matter? Your are only in charge of yourself.
I really find it quite sad if a person is thinking critical thoughts, because it often means they are dissatisfied with their own lives, so they feel the need to put others down.
True hospitality in practice
When you truly experience warm hospitality, you are made to feel loved and welcomed, no matter who you are, where you have come from, or where you are going. You are just invited to come.
I think of the times in my life where I have felt the most warm and welcomed, and I can recount many: A friend’s house growing up; a stranger’s home in the cold, a coffee shop while chatting with a friend.
Hospitality is less about the space and more about the spirit. A spirit of loving welcome and acceptance.Brynn Greene, Unfading Beauty and Strength
A story of hospitality:
Every Halloween, for the last six years, my family has been blessed with being recipients of great hospitality.
There is a couple in our neighborhood who, every Halloween, they put out a welcome table. There will be candy and sodas, chili and hot dogs, chips and dip, juice, beer, wine. You name it, it will likely be there. They know how to practice hospitality.
This couple is outside all evening conversing and inviting anybody that comes by with joy and laughter and food. (The heart of the Southern table)
My husband and I have even begun planning our trick or treating around this event. Now, we let the kids do their trick or treating for a bit, and then we end up back at this neighbor’s house.
Every year, my family is welcomed with open arms, in spite of the fact that we do not bring anything, and while we converse when we see them in the neighborhood, we mostly see them at Halloween.
We are always welcome.
The Hospitality of Jesus:
Jesus knew about the spirit and practice of hospitality. He welcomed all to come to the table. Jesus was a friend to tax collectors, thieves, prostitutes, and more. He did not just invite the socially acceptable, he invited all.
Jesus’s was a spirit that you could not help but want to be around. People were drawn to him. Crowds pushed against each other just to get a glimpse of the great teacher. Thousands would sit at his feet just to be near him. Friends searched him out when they were grieving. A friend walked on water to run to Jesus.
Jesus wants to invite you to the table. Come as you are, nobody else. It does not matter where you have been or what you have done. You will be welcome. You just have to come.
When I think of the love and hospitality of Jesus, I am reminded of this song by Zac Williams. Come to the Table.
Will we be so brave to offer the same? What would that kind of hospitality be to you?
We are approaching a season of hospitality, where people come together to be with each other and dine together. What would happen if this season lasted the whole year long?
Even though I love the warm sentiment of hospitality, I am a very pragmatic person and I like to know how I can apply things to my own life.
Therefore, I have brainstormed a few ways to practice hospitality this season or all year long.
- Bring cookies to the doctor’s office.
- Make cookies or cards with your kids to share with neighbors.
- Schedule a monthly time where you will have somebody over.
- Invite a friend to coffee.
- Write a snail mail card to someone on your mind.
- Send a gift card to someone out of the blue.
- Open the door for people.
- Host a play date
- Say a kind word on a Social Media post.
- Smile at a stranger.
These are ten very simple ideas that you can apply to help you learn how to let people in.
Hospitality does not just mean inviting someone to your house, it is simply a genuine act of kindness and sharing.Brynn Greene, Unfading Beauty and Strength
By practicing a little hospitality, we just might make the world a better place.
What about you? What ideas can you add to this list? Share in the comments below!
As always, Thanks for Reading! Sharing is Caring!
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