What you have and who you are is enough. (Read that again!) We hear it a lot, but I want you to allow the Holy Spirit to engrave that into the deepest recesses of your soul. You know the places the enemy goes to pull out the lies that keep you hidden!
God didn’t need anything “MORE” from the small boy with the loaves and fish (Matthew 14:13-21), he didn’t need anything “MORE” than the little bit of oil in the widow’s jar (2 Kings 4), and he didn’t need anything “MORE” than water to make choice wine (John 2: 1-11).
He will use exactly what you have and the gifts you possess to love others.
Hospitality isn’t just something that is expressed inside your home. It’s something you carry with you. In a world where “MORE” is often the goal, that mentality actually holds us back from what is right in front of us. Let’s focus on what you have that God can use right now!
Being faithful where we are, with what we have, gives us so many opportunities to be hospitable, and there are a few steps we can take to make sure we’re ready when those opportunities come along.
Preparation: The stepping stones he uses in your life to make you ready for what’s ahead and allow you to use your gifts! This also applies to working ahead to be sure you are prepared for your guests. Extra special touches say a lot about how much you care.
In the past when I invited people over, I used to be wound so tight making sure everyone around me was having a good time and feeling at home that I didn’t even sit down to enjoy the time with them. Jesus said that Mary chose best because she did what was necessary but didn’t stay busy and miss out on his presence! I’ve since learned to let the crazy happen behind the scenes so that I’m chill as I can be when company arrives and can handle what comes up. Like, oh, I don’t know, having the worship team over and your son pees in the backyard, or that pan of green beans totally turns to ash in the oven because you forgot about them! People will feel at ease if you can laugh at yourself. (Children often help with that!) If they can see that you are real, you’ll have an opportunity to really let God do some cool stuff through you.
Humility: That people may see, smell, or hear things while in your home that are imperfect. A quick example of this is when we invited the entire church staff over to our 14 x 52 mobile home. Our cat left a little chewed up snack on a chair, and a three-year-old girl sat on it. It was horrifying for her and mortifying for me! A story none of us will forget!
Stewardship: Being responsible in the planning and management of resources. “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” Luke 16:10. We may have a small home, very little to eat, or the smallest amount of time or energy. We may even lack experience. But our focus shouldn’t be on what we don’t have. It should be on what is right in front of us, in our own hands.
Presence: The determination to be where you are, focused on the people you’re with, and not busying yourself and missing out on the moment. When you open your home to others, God is going to use you in ways you cannot anticipate. I had a perfect example of this last year around the holidays. I met a couple in a parking lot while trying to help an disoriented elderly woman get back home. We knew it was a meeting God had set up. I knew God was asking me to invite them over even though we barely knew them, and he opened a door to minister to them and love them.
Willingness: To allow God full access to the resources he gives you. God is seeking those who possess this one simple thing. This shows that you trust him, that you understand that not only do you belong to him but so does everything you have. This releases the power and hold that “MORE” has over your life.
There are many excuses people use to avoid extending hospitality to others(many of which I’ve said myself!):
My living room is too small.
I’m too busy.
I can’t cook.
I don’t have any money.
My house is a mess.
My kids are too loud.
And many more!
Sacrifice: The time, energy, and resources it takes to do something for others. The things is, when we are invited somewhere or someone drops a meal at our house, offers to take our kids, or comes to visit us, what about that really ministers to us? What is it about their actions that say, “You’re worth it. You are loved and of value!”? It’s sacrifice! After all, isn’t that exactly what God did for us that so clearly shows his love? What we do out of our own need or weakness becomes a thing of beauty and strength in his hands.
No matter where you are, hospitality is displayed by simply being attentive to the needs of others and taking care of them joyfully. The word “hospitality” is derived from “hospital”, and what does a hospital do? It takes care of sick people! How cool is that? God can use our homes and our lives to become hospitals for those hurting, sick, and in need of encouragement!