On the very first Sunday that we visited our new church, we met a friendly family who invited us to share lunch with them. That same day. I had something in the crock-pot at home, so we declined, but we were touched by such open and ready hospitality toward us-- even though we were practically strangers to this family. In the weeks and months following we've received (and accepted) many more offers from others to share a meal. It's been very humbling to us that so many in a very small church would show such kindness to our family. Last Sunday, a young newly-wed couple invited us over for lunch at their small (but very homey and welcoming) apartment. I know I wasn't brave enough to have a family of eight over before I had children!
The example of all those who have warmly opened their homes and lives to us has had such an impact on us. In fact, we've never experienced anything like it. Can you imagine if all Christians were so willing to share their time and energy practicing hospitality toward others? I think that the church would look much different than it does today.
Maybe the reason that hospitality isn't the norm is that we have some exalted 'Martha Stewart' standard in our minds that we feel we can't meet. I wonder if Satan has twisted the command to be hospitable into something focused on ourselves; on our own image and reputation and ability to impress. Or maybe we're just too selfish with our time to make room for others.
I've been challenged and encouraged by the example I've witnessed to set the excuses aside and obey God's Word. Will you?
Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 1Peter 4:9
See also 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8, Romans 12:13