Sunday, July 10, 2011
Open Heart, Open Home: Chapters 3 and 4
I'm sorry, but I am very late in taking part in this post. We had company for the 4Th. ALOT of company! But it was a lot of fun. It seems the older I get, the longer it takes to recover from things like that. But that is OK. I believe that I relaxed and enjoyed this more than I usually do. I tend to fret a lot and want everything to be perfect. But this time I let some things go, and it all worked out OK.
Over at the Common Room, the Head Mistress posted some questions we could use if we chose. I'm going to use them, because I feel like I tend to not comment on the chapter so much if I just ramble.
Question 1. What does the Holy Spirit have to do with your hospitality? I pray each day that I will recognize the opportunities the the Lord and the Holy Spirit put before me. Too often, too many people confuse "entertaining" with "hospitality". I think entertaining should be a part of hospitality, but hospitality is done because we recognize a need in some one's life. Even if it is inconvenient, hospitality should still be offered. There is always need, and opportunities will become apparent to us if we are open to them.
Question 2. Is, "I don't have the gift of hospitality" a valid reason for a Christian not to practice hospitality? No. Many times in the Bible God has put tasks before someone that they did not want to do. But they still had to do it, and God showed them a way. God sees in us talents that we don't realize we have. But regardless, if the need of hospitality is there, the recipient will not care if you are not "good" at it. They will just be glad you offered and shared what you have.
This just happened in my own kitchen, just this afternoon. I heard knocking, and a neighbor couple was knocking on my door. The next thing I know my husband was leading them inside to sit in my kitchen because it was too hot to visit outside. I looked at them before they even got inside and said "I'm glad you came by. Please have a seat, just don't look at my dirty house!" They laughed and acted as if I were joking. But I proceeded to pick up, rearrange, and wash dishes the whole time they were here. We had a big gathering at our home on the 4Th of July. We are still putting up platters and large bowls we only use for times like that. Plus, even thought dishes had been done that night and the next day, we are still gathering bowls, and glasses, etc, to be washed and put away. I had it on my list today to work on the kitchen, but the neighbors arrived just as I was getting in from church. My husband apologized later, and explained to me what had happened. I told him that it was perfectly fine. I would rather the kitchen been neat, but I was doing a Bible study on hospitality and I could not allow my pride to keep me from offering to share with our neighbors. My husband is not a believer (Christian) yet. I think he was impressed that I would swallow my pride in the middle of a kitchen of dirty dishes and make these friends feel welcome. Maybe this was one of the days that the "Lord worked in mysterious ways" in my home.
I think the older I get it is easier to offer hospitality to others. I don't know if it is because we have more to offer, we have more room now, I have no small children, or because I'm just more comfortable with who I am. But what ever the reason, I find it easier at this stage of my life.
Question 3: How do you develop the gift of hospitality? The only way I know to develop the gift of hospitality is to be hospitable. Practice makes perfect, I always told my children. It will get easier the more we do it. As my children got older, they sometimes would be quicker to notice a hospitality need. When they would ask me about it, I never wanted to discourage this action in my children, so I always tried to make an effort to offer hospitality, even if I wouldn't have on my own. I wanted my children to know that with God, we can do anything!
Before you have people in your home, it would be a good idea to pray about the evening and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and show you how to proceed. I think wonderful things will happen if this path is taken.
If something comes up and you feel led to ask someone to dinner, do it. Don't worry if you haven't cooked enough. I'm sure there is something you can add to make enough for dinner, Everything will work out fine. Recently I asked some children what they were doing after Easter service. They said "nothing - there is nothing to do!". I said go ask your Grandma if you can come home with me. So they did, and our egg hunt for one Grandboy stretched easily for four other children. They didn't care what we ate. Regardless it was festive, and something they weren't going to do at home. So I felt glad I could share with them, and wished I had planned it from the start.
I look forward to the next chapters in this book, and will try to be more prompt in the future!
Please come back to see us. Love, Honey