Thursday, June 25, 2015

Practice Hospitality: Love in Action

Hospitality:
1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.
2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
 
I've always loved gathering a crowd together. It started when I was a young girl and my parents hosted family holidays. My mom is from a family of ten and my dad is from a family of nine, that means dozens of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Every weekend there was someone at our house visiting.

I loved being with people and creating good memories. One day, I wanted to host my own guests, and I imagined how wonderful it would be.
 
But then I grew up and I quickly realized hosting is a lot of work! Not to mention it's intimidating. Suddenly, I felt insecure about my home, my cooking, my ability to converse. Frankly, it stressed me out and I shied away from the idea.
 
But then God reminded me of the Bible verses my husband and I chose for our wedding day.
 
Romans 12:9-13, 15
Love in Action
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality... Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."  (Italics mine)
 
Share...Practice hospitality...Rejoice and mourn with others...
 
Share. It doesn't matter how much or how little God has given us, He still tells us to share what we have. The boy in Matthew 14 only had five loaves of bread and two fish, yet he offered them to Christ and Christ multiplied the little he had to feed five thousand people. Can't God do the same with the little I have? Even if all we can offer is our love, sometimes that's all someone needs. Sharing doesn't have to mean we share our home, our food, or our resources. Sharing can simply mean a listening ear or an understanding heart. We can do this anywhere, at any time.
 
Practice Hospitality. The key word here is practice. I was afraid to entertain, because I wanted everything to be perfect, and it rarely was. God reminded me of this verse in the Book of Romans and I realized all He asked me to do was keep practicing.

Eventually, I learned to relax and let the event flow naturally. I've found that my guests can relax if I'm relaxed. My guests are always good-willed and kind. Even if something doesn't turn out how I had planned, they don't mind a bit and I chalk it up as practice. :)

Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn. This is maybe the most important reason for being hospitable. I love celebrating with friends who are reaching milestones or achieving accomplishments in their lives. It's fun to be there for all the high points. New babies. New jobs. New homes. Completing marathons. Children's successes. But I also want to be there for friends when life isn't going as planned, when they're mourning the loss of a pregnancy, when they don't get the job they had hoped for, when they lose a home, when they can't race because of an injury, or when they're struggling with their children.

True friendship is made up of all the highs and lows of life.


This past weekend we had over forty friends and family at our house for a summer get together. We swam in the river, played games, ate a delicious potluck meal, made s'mores, watched fireworks over the water, and laughed for hours.

Did everything go as planned? No. A tree fell down in our yard two days before the party. A big project we had hoped to finish in the backyard was still torn up. It rained the night before and part of the lawn was a mud pit. But we made the best of it and created wonderful memories. I've had enough practice at this hospitality thing to be relaxed and have fun.
 

 


 
Your Turn: Do you enjoy entertaining guests? What is your favorite memory from hosting a party? What do you enjoy about going to a friend's house? Do you have a fun tip for hosting? 

6 comments:

  1. Looks perfect to me, I'll be right over! ;)

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    1. I wish you could, Anne!! I'd love to have you. :)

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  2. Hey Gabe! Looks like you had a fabulous time! I am currently not in a season of life to entertain. However, I do enjoy going to visit a friend that lives a couple of hours away.

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    1. Caryl, you bring up a good point I should have talked about in my post. Sometimes, we're not in a season or a position to entertain. Frienships can be fostered at restaurants, at church, on different outings--a person doesn't have to entertain to make friends or be a friend. :)

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  3. I have always loved to entertain, however, my health no longer permits me to do all that is involved in cooking a large meal for family/friends and decorating for special occasions - as I once did. I now go out to restaurants more often and attend pot-luck's at my parent's or brother's house - I also frequently have a friend (who has health issues also) over to spend the night, go out to eat or order pizza, and rent some movies.

    I come from a family who has always gotten together for every birthday, holiday, and special occasion. When my mother was younger - frequent guests for Sunday lunch were our pastor and his family, revival minister, and/or the music director and his family. There were also huge family outdoor reunion meals every summer.

    One of MY most memorable parties is the 90th birthday celebration for my father - on his lawn- with lots of food, many people, numerous tables set up, musical entertainment, games, decorations, and a hayride on my father's farm. Another was a Mother's Day brunch, co-hosted with my sister-in-law. It was a dressy event with white tablecloths, chair covers with bows, beautiful centerpieces (as well as individual flower arrangements for each person), - complete with chocolate fountain, Belgian waffle station, and many other delicious breakfast/lunch items. Friends from church attended, as well as family. I always enjoy socializing with family/friends whether it is in someone's home, a restaurant, religious event, or traveling, etc. - the importance is the fellowship, especially with other Christians.

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  4. How fun!! I used to be the same way....okay I still am....thinking that everything had to be perfect. Until my best friend told me that she comes over to see me, NOT my house. It's still something I'm working on!

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