When we first moved into our little Hawaii house, we had nothing. Our house sat empty for months as the military shipment of our furniture from Michigan to Oahu drug on and on. We ate our meals at a card table, slept on an air mattress, and sat on an uncomfortable little loveseat we’d managed to snag.
Even in this state of emptiness, our home quickly became filled with Marines.
I struggled to open up my home. I wanted things to be perfect. I wanted to set the table in a Pinterest-worth manner and have everything planned out perfectly. But I am so grateful that God and Hubby thwarted these plans.
God commands us to be hospitable. One of my favorite examples of this is the widow who shared what she thought was her last meal with Elijah. She had nothing but a little oil and flour to make into one last piece of bread. After this, she was going to starve.
But she shared it.
Hospitality is a not an option in the Christian walk. It is not something we get to do when we feel like it, when our cupboards are full, or when our house is ready for HGTV to film, it is something that is continual no matter the circumstance.
Hospitality does not have to be elaborate. It can look like a simple cup of tea or stretching the soup a little thinner to accommodate more people. It’s opening our homes and hearts to pour out love and walk alongside life with fellow sojourners of the faith.
When life is hard, that’s when we need people around us. We need to let believers into the not so lovely parts of our homes. We need to let them join us for the unremarkable dinners we serve our families.
There is a tendency in me to hype hospitality up to look like something entirely different. Something a lot like entertaining. Entertaining makes me feel proud as I show off my accomplishments. Hospitality humbly opens the door and invites others into my life, warts and all. Entertaining is about me, hospitality is about showing them the love of God.
So open your door, offer whatever you have to share.
Here are a few of my favorite, simple ideas to share with another.
1. Pour a Cup of Tea
Offer them something warm to drink and sit and be with them. It’s hard to find friends who will just sit and be. Listen to what they have to say, and focus on each other, not caramelizing the tops of creme brule.
2. Serve Something Pre-Made
Seriously. Don’t be ashamed to offer leftovers. I’m always relieved when a friend does this. It breaks down walls and makes me feel like family because, I’ll let you in on a little secret, I serve my family leftovers.
3. Have a Watermelon Party
I definitely cannot take credit for this idea but I also cannot remember where I heard it. Nevertheless, it is a splendid idea that is especially perfect for those of you with little ones. Invite your friends over and sit in the yard with a cold watermelon. It’s simple, but joyous.
4. Host a Game Night
I shared recently in an email with my subscribers that Bananagrams has been my favorite lately. Recently, another friend taught me to play cribbage. Whatever your game is, break it out and enjoy some fun with those around you.
5. Don’t Do It All Alone
Potlucks are always fun. Splitting up meals and asking a friend to bring the salad, bread, or dessert, totally an option. Don’t fall into the entertaining trap. Let others be included in the process.
Hubby and I are back where we began. We emptied our home and loaded up our earthly possessions, our pictures, the physical reminders of our memories and first home, into storage. The house sits empty.
But the door is still open.
And last night, one of those ohana friends sat and reminisced with me about when we met in my family room, back when the house was empty and the door was open.
I never thought those friendships would blossom. But they did.
Pouring out my heart in hospitality has been a burden at times. People show up when I want to relax. But Love opens the door again and again. God has never stopped welcoming me to His table and so the door to my kitchen remains open.
George Herbert wrote a beautiful poem on Love showing hospitality to us, lowly men. God has welcomed us to His table. He has offered us His very Body and Blood as sustenance. That is the model of hospitality set before us – giving our very selves for another.
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