Tuesday, March 2, 2010

In the most basic of terms....

by Carrie

Definitely not looking for a strict definition here, but just trying to get a basic idea as to what you think of when you think of offering hospitality to another.

If your answer is "other" or you feel the desire or need to elaborate further, please leave a comment below!


  1. I left a rather long comment on the poll by accident.

  2. LOL! =D Well, I'm curious but I guess I"ll have to figure out your thoughts on this after awhile! ha!

  3. OH. I see it. For the benefit of others, here is Annette's comment:

    I did not vote "other" but maybe I should have. I think it is opening yourself up to serve and be a friend. Whether dropping off a meal, welcoming an new neighbor, or sending a note to a friend who is facing a tough time. It can be reaching out in ANY way!

    Recently I've been working on building friendships. I look forward to your new blog!

  4. When I think of the word 'hospitality' I think of a big, barefoot mama with her arms, hands and fingers spread out to gather in anyone who comes near.
    Warmth, quiet listening, happy laughter, hot mugs to warm your hands, warm liquids to warm your insides...
    Sometimes I think hospitality is simply a nice smile and 'how are you' in line at the market, or a quick hug, a pat on the back.
    Sometimes it's making time to listen, keeping moments open, reminding people (even strangers!) that you do care, and you care because GOD loves the world!

    For ages past an invitation into ones private home was a statement of trust, an offer of vulnerability.
    Breaking bread with someone was considered to be a pact of some sort, sharing salt a bond of kinship.
    Americans seem to have forgotten many of the traditions that even (and perhaps especially) our new world relatives would have considered a mainstay. You feed people, you offer them what you can, and you hope that somehow you helped them, however little, in that moment of their life.

    As for applying this hospitality in action to Christians:

    3 John 1:5-8
    'Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.'

    Hebrews 13:1-2
    'Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.'

    Holding a fellow Christian up in prayer is a tremendous (and vitally important!) thing to do but I believe that we are meant to do more then that, that we must physically SHOW them that we care! There are so many times that I have been blessed with letters, cards, a box in the mail, an ecard... I have even been brought meals! Usually from fellow Christians I know well (CB!) but sometimes by complete strangers who are taking care of me because they are Christians.
    Which leads me to the "strangers" in Hebrews up there. We do not know what people need, but we do know the Creator can use us to supply it!
    We must stop living the hurry-scurry life and take the time to make eye-contact and walk among other humans. Christ didn't seem to rush about and avoid talking to people, most of the time it seems that He was pretty accessible!
    I think that LOVE is definitely an action, and that Hospitality is a supreme part of that verb!

    I will end my long winded comment with this;
    Sometimes a cup of coffee or a listening ear can safe a life. Literally.

  5. Looks like an interesting endeavor, Carrie. Hospitality is something I long to have more of in my life (as in, I want to offer it more), but I run out of time and energy.

  6. I would have said that "opening my home" is hospitality, but a good friend reminded me today that acts of kindness, like offering a meal, also "count" as hospitality...I wouldn't have thought of that on my own!

    Another thought I'd like to add: I recently read a book called "Captives: 1677" about a group of settlers kidnapped by Indians and carried off to Canada. The author included some details about early American life that caught my attention, specifically related to hospitality. It seems to me that there was a time in our nation when hospitality -- opening our home and sharing our provisions -- was the status quo. In the book, a pair of travelers (headed to Canada to rescue the captives) needs to stay overnight in a settlement. Their need for lodging and food is taken care of without thought for repayment. A couple just shares their home and their meal without any complaints. It just was what you did...you sheltered, clothed, and fed people who needed it...case closed. In our current culture, most of us feel weird having someone in our home or have a hard time opening up our homes to those in need. Yes, of course, there is personal risk and we need to be wise and safe. But, how often do we close doors of fellowship because we do not want to be inconvenienced or we don't think we have enough to offer to our friends, neighbors, family, and brothers and sisters in Christ?

    My husband and I currently live in a 2 bedroom apartment and have very little space for hosting. We're very anxious to buy a house where we can have friends over...more than one or two at a time...and really create a place where people feel loved, cared for, and downright pampered. We're also looking forward to game nights, backyard BBQ's, and having friends to stay for the weekend (although that will be a bit of a stretch). It's tough to do all that we want to do in our little apartment! In the meantime, I just have to satisfy myself with making meals for those who need them, taking cards and flowers and muffins to friends who need cheering up, and being open to fellowship whenever the doors are open.

    Thanks for this blog, Carrie! It's great to be sharing these ideas with one another!

  7. I tend to think of hospitality as opening my home to others, whether it is an overnight guest, a party, or just one other person or family. I don't usually think of going out to eat with others as hospitality, and I tend to think of taking a meal to someone as serving or ministering (though true hospitality is as well). I don't think of it as entertaining so much as making guests feel at home.

  8. I agree that I think of hospitality as intrinsically home centered. Taking a meal to someone counts because you are trying to take your home to them, since they cannot come to you. Going out for coffee with a friend? Not part of hospitality.

  9. A thought: what if going out for coffee with that friend allows them a much-needed break from a stressful situation at home? What if it’s a huge blessing for your friend to be able to spill her heart out, whether in excitement or in grief? What if it’s a rare treat for her…an opportunity for “girl time” that she doesn’t get often? What if a good latte everyone once in a while is a delight to her heart, but she can’t afford one right now? Would it be hospitality only if you purchased the latte for her and took it to her home or invited her to your own home and served her coffee there?

    This is my point: What IS hospitality? Is it defined by actions or by intentions? By what we do or why we’re doing it?

  10. All things in the Christian life are a combination of actions and heart. One cannot say "I love God" and yet not love God's people. One cannot go through loving actions towards God's people (hospitality, service, mercy, justice) and refuse to love God. It must be a combination of WHY and WHAT.

    I think coffee with a friend is a fantastic thing, and am rather fond of it myself. :) I agree that it can be a much needed break, an encouragement session, ministering comfort, or sharing joy.
    But do we need to "check a box" for one of those "deeper" things for it it be considered hospitality?

    If it's just shooting the breeze, or catching up, is it still hospitality?
    If it's a walk on the beach instead of coffee is it still hospitality?
    If it's a walk around the neighborhood for exercise, is it still hospitality?
    If it's a walk to pick up the dry cleaning, is it still hospitality?
    If the encouragement happens while getting the drycleaning, is it hospitality?

    My point, or rather I should say: My Question is this: what makes something hospitality?

    I agree that coffee is wonderful, and often well needed connection between friends. But there are many other things we can call it (love, charity, mercy, compassion, encouragement, friendship, neighborliness).... why call it "hospitality"?