Friday, June 8, 2012

Experiencing the JOY of Hospitality


One of the first things that come to mind when we think of hospitality is food.  If you’re like me, you are always on the lookout for a good recipe.  Today the recipe I want to share with you is for JOY.  
A good recipe for JOY:
  • Jesus
  • Others
  • Yourself
I realize this recipe goes totally against our worldly culture, which is a “ME” society.  The world tells us to look out for ourselves … be sure you have enough “ME” time.  But that’s not what God calls us to.
Let’s take a look at the definition of hospitality.
Hospitality refers to the RELATIONSHIP PROCESS between a guest and a host, and it also refers to the act or practice of being hospitable, that is, the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers, with liberality and goodwill.
Hospitality is also known as the act of generously providing care and kindness to whoever is in need.

We’ll get back to that part, but first let’s look at the WHY.  We’re moms right?  We’re used to hearing “why” all day long!  :)

Romans 12:13 puts it this way:  “Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality”.

Check out 1 Peter 4:9 – “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

So where do you begin?  First you need to come up with a “company meal” and serve it each time you have people over.  You don’t have to become master chef of 20 entrees!  Hospitality does NOT have to be complex and difficult.  Are you relieved?  I know I am!  A few ideas might be:  Spaghetti, homemade pizza, lasagna or taco casserole.  {Join us over at Mom’s Together, ‘cuz I’ll be sharing recipes!}  Point is: Find something that works for you and DO IT!  It doesn’t always have to be a full meal.  You could have a family over for ice cream sundaes!  I don’t think any child would fuss about that kind of entree.  :)
REMEMBER!:  Hospitality is not about “entertaining”, exhaustive 10 course meals, or fine china!  It is about CARING for people in need!  We are ALL in need of fellowship and friendship.  Hospitality is about giving and serving.
Let’s get down to the practical.  By now you might be thinkin’ … "Ya know Shelly, that’s great for you, but I’m doin’ good just to get my own family a decent meal at night before I collapse after a long day.  Not to mention my house! … sometimes I can’t even find the kitchen sink!  And Susie & Jack – you know we have SO many commitments already with little Susie having soccer and Jack in gymnastics.  OH and all our church activities!  These are all so vitally important for them to grow up well-rounded.  I just can’t fit another thing in!  While these challenges might very well be true, God’s word trump every excuse.  Here are a few tips to ease your way into hospitality and the JOY that comes in serving others."

Preparing your Home~
Clutter and cleaning and chaos, OH MY!  Enlist the help of your children!  This is one of the most wonderful opportunities to teach TEAM WORK!  Use this time to CONNECT with your kids. Talk about what’s going on in their lives.  Utilize these moments to teach life skills.  Turn on some good music and see how fast you can get the job done TOGETHER!  Don’t forget to reward your laborers with some TREATS.  :)  This shouldn’t be drudgery … remember WHO it is you are ultimately serving … God!

Preparing the Meal~
Again, TEAM WORK!  Let your kid helper be part of the process.  They’ll feel so proud when your company compliments the meal and they had a part in preparing it!  Do anything you can AHEAD of time.  Don’t be afraid to include your guests if it’s a meal that is prepared while they are with you.

Preparing your HEART~
Print out a few verses and keep in a place you’ll be reminded of WHY you are practicing hospitality.  Pray for your guests while you prepare the meal.  Remember that hospitality is about PEOPLE and RELATIONSHIPS.  Ask God to give you strength – He will be faithful!  It’s very important that we remember this - hospitality is not only for these outside our family.

Hospitality doesn’t have to only be practiced in our homes.  I love what Karen Ehman shares in her book “A Life that Says Welcome” about “hospitality-on-the-go”.  This can come in many forms.  How about taking a meal to a person in need?  Make some festive cookies with your kids to share, letting them help you deliver.  Send a gift card to a far-away-friend that is all alone and needs a lift.  Put together a care package for someone serving our country and include a note of encouragement.  Take a treat to a member in the nursing home who doesn’t have close family nearby.  These are all types of hospitality.  Use your imagination.  Get your kids involved!  The world is full of people who are in great need of some hospitality and encouragement.  Start small, but START.  As you work on your “recipe for JOY” – Jesus, Others, Yourself … you’ll be amazed at all the exciting moments you get to be part of.  There truly is JOY to be experienced in hospitality.

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