One of the lifestyle choices Peter and I have made, early in our marriage was to have a heart for hospitality. Unfortunately TV lifestyle shows have encouraged us in entertaining others instead of the Biblical model of hospitality. Better Homes and Gardens for example encourage their viewers (and we are big fans) to try new recipes, to have fancy desserts, to build a beautiful garden setting with colourful table decorations. Hospitality on the other hand is recognising God’s blessings and being willing to share – How has God blessed you this week: do you have a home, food in the cupboard, time, energy or love? Are you prepared to share?
As with most things, if you want something to be a part of your life you need to be intentional about it. Peter and I regularly talk about when and who we can invite over. But there also needs to be a heart to be spontaneous as well.
Hospitality is also being prepared to invite the stranger in, the person you just happen to meet, the lonely and the people on the fringes. Peter and I have an understanding between us that should one of us invite someone to share a meal etc, and not have the time or opportunity to touch base with each other first, then we will support the invitation because this is what we are called to do as a couple, as a family. We want to give our older children this freedom too. I’m not talking here about just lumping a party on the parents but rather when anyone from our family senses a need in another person and feels that our family could bless that person we want the freedom to issue an invite, and know that we will be supported.
Hospitality also embraces our family. We need to make time to enjoy each other’s company, to share food together, to share our hearts with each other, to simply spend time together. I made a decision early on that dinner time was for relationships – that I wasn’t going to stress about the kids eating food. Sure they had to eat but they went through phases where they didn’t eat much, or they were fussy, or slow. We had our boundaries, and we stuck to those, but our main priority was being together. This has created a habit now where dinner time is a time to talk and enjoy laughter.
Hospitality is a lifestyle – it comes when we keep our eyes on people, on their needs instead of our needs, when we are thankful for the things we can share instead of focusing on what we don’t have.
I’m joining many other bloggers with The Nesters challenge to blog on one topic for 31 days in October. I hope you will revisit my series and many other blogs over the next 31 days.