Haven’t given much thought to it until last night. Funny how God works things so that we get a good look at ourselves.
Hospitality has been defined as “warmth, cordiality, geniality, friendliness”. Whew!! I passed that test. I am those things.Then something happened last night that made me take a good, hard look at myself.
My son called on his ride home last night. He tells me that “a friend” is coming to spend the night. “Are you serious??”. I was all settled on the couch with my tea, quite ready to watch the results show of “Idol”. Are you even kidding me? I need to get off this couch & do what? Strip beds? But it is “Idol”. The results show. One of 4 is going home & I know who I want to see go…..and on it goes. The thoughts in my head persisting.
I get up to strip & remake the beds with clean sheets. I will let you further into my head….
“I am tired of stripping beds.”
“Hospitality is not one of my spiritual gifts.” (I thought this one braggingly!!!).
“I don’t even want the gift of hospitality.” (said even MORE braggingly!!!!).
I finished stripping the beds. And in plenty of time to watch “Idol”. Also with plenty of time for God to deal with me; to shine His spotlight into that dark spot in my heart & get His scalpel ready to use on my heart! I have wrestled with this one during the night. Here’s what I have learned…..
- the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.
- the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
Did you catch the key words – “guests & strangers”? See, it is so easy to be friendly, kind & generous towards those that you already know & love. I really do not have a problem with that (OK, most days, lol). But a stranger? Someone I may never see again? That proved to be a test. Open my home – feed, give a place to sleep, a shower – to someone I have not seen before & may never again when it was not convenient for me to do so.
“Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13
The words “practice hospitality” are written in a most interesting verb tense – the present active participle. So it could be worded this way – keep on practicing. Practice it today. You will practice it tomorrow. As a matter of fact, you will practice it more often than you thought you would. Keep on practicing.
The word “hospitality” comes from a Greek word that actually means to be a “lover of strangers”, “to be generous to guests”, “to wish well particularly to a foreigner, an alien, someone unheard of”.
- The Message says it this way..”be inventive in hospitality”.
- NLT says…”be eager to practice hospitality”.
- HCSB says….”pursue hospitality”.
Well that sure puts me on the hot seat!! Be inventive. Be eager. Pursue. I was having enough issues with just practice!!! As I sat & thought about all that God was showing me, I saw the darkness, the sin that yet resides in my heart. Confessing that before God this morning brought such joy as I realized that He cared enough for me to want to yet change me once again.
Now the funny part in all this is that I thoroughly enjoyed meeting my house guest & the conversation that was had. So this morning my prayer is that God would change my “want to”. That He would cause my heart to want to be hospitable at all times. That I would want to practice hospitality. That I would want to pursue hospitality…..even when I have my tea in hand & am settled on the couch & am eagerly awaiting the “Idol” results!