Five minutes before our small group was to arrive, my pride broke a world’s record in the longest nose dive.
The food was prepped, the toilets were scrubbed, and I had even managed to sneak in a shower. I was feeling pretty smug. I bet Martha Stewart had never attempted hospitality with three-year-old twin boys in tow!
But it was the smell of poop that first alerted me that something was amiss.
And it was.
In a BIG way.
Twin A had taken off his underpants and hadn’t made it to the toilet in time. And whether on purpose or by terrible accident (does it really matter?), had smeared the contents of his undies all over the carpet.
All. Over. The. Carpet.
With my guest’s impending arrival, mom went into hyper-galactic panic mode.
But before I could clean mess A, I discovered that Twin B had cut a hole in the second-story window screen and parachuted all 435 of his stuffed animals onto the front porch below.
My small group was probably surprised to be greeted by a clan of stuffed bears of varying sizes as well as the lingering smell of poop that evening. And while I’d like to say I smiled gracefully and managed to worship the God who gave me Thing 1 and Thing 2, I didn’t.
Even if my lips said, “Hi! Welcome to my Home. Make yourself comfortable,” I’m pretty sure my heart was screaming: “Do Not Disturb!”
I made the rest of the evening about me, instead of others.
In 1 Peter 4:8-9, Peter admonishes the church. He says in verse 8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
Then he immediately gives some specific measures of love in verse 9: “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
According to Peter, hospitality takes “deep” love. And when we grumble about the cost and effort of food prep and the inconvenience of cleaning up duty, we are revealing the real “love” of our hearts – ourselves.
Because hospitality is an expression of love, our pursuit of it says a lot about the nature of our faith. Hospitable hearts demonstrate the love they’ve been shown in salvation through Christ Jesus.
We see Christ’s hospitality toward us in two ways:
It was around a crowded dining table that Jesus declared he was the answer to the world’s great need.
“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19-20).
And when we partake of his sacrificial love – wrought by his blood and body on the cross – we are welcomed to our Maker’s Table once again (Rev. 19:6-9). Christ shows us the ultimate form of hospitality.
Every party has a guest list. Jesus’ dinner party is no different.
At the Maker’s Table, sinners are invited to enjoy a great feast in which we partake of salvation and abundant life. But this meal is more than a hot hand-out; it’s an invitation to dwell in the Father’s house. Outcasts and outsiders are given privileged seats at the Father’s family table where we fellowship with the King – not simply as his guests – but as the King’s sons and daughters! (Is. 25:6-9)
“The hospitality of God embodied in the table fellowship of Jesus is a celebration and sign of his grace and generosity. And we’re to imitate that generosity.”
To imitate my hospitality after Christ means I must open my home to strangers and treat each guest as if they were family. That is both frightening and draining, right?
No wonder Peter calls on us to ground our hospitality in the love of the One who first showed us such generosity and care. Peter knows hospitality takes ‘deep love’ and ‘deep faith.’
Do you have a “Do Not Disturb” sign hanging from your heart? Consider pursuing hospitality simply because Christ has extended the ultimate form of hospitality toward you in salvation. The home is the most natural place to share that same form of love with others.
Still not convinced hospitality is for you? Then be sure to check out Kristen’s post ‘15 Tips to Become the Hostess with the Mostess’ over at Celebrate Every Day with Me tomorrow! I loved her post yesterday – Boiled Down Hospitality – that helped me focus my heart on people rather than things!
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