If you are just checking in with us here, I'm going through the book Practicing Hospitality: The Joy of Serving Others chapter by chapter and sharing what I'm learning as I go along.
Click here to read my thoughts on Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Chapter 5 is entitled, "Hospitality and Your Home." The points I want to make out of this chapter are pulled almost from the get-go. The authors are making a point in this chapter that your home is to be a place of refuge, both for your family and for others. They give a list of things which your home should provide and mention two things in particular that I'd like to hone in on.
- The first is that your home should be a place of security - "a stronghold that is safe from the hostility of the world" (2 Sam. 22:3).
- The second is that your home should be a "refreshment for those who communicate the gospel" (Luke 10:38-42; Acts 9:35 - 10:23; 16:15; Rom. 12:13; 16:23; Heb. 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9; Philem. 22; 3 John 5-8)
Our family should know that when they walk in the doors of ours (and their!!!) home, that they will find security in relationship with us. They shouldn't fear our emotions, harsh opinions or disgruntlement. Rather, when they come home they should feel secure in knowing that they are safe from the arrows and darts that the enemy assails them with nonstop.
I would say that this is a hard one for mothers to tackle. I mean, I'm always a perfect angel to my husband and we get along perfectly. I don't know about you guys, but I AM the perfect attitude. Ok, maybe not all of the time. And not even most of the time. I tire out easily and my attitude suffers.
But what am I really saying when I have a bad attitude and attack my family and rob them of the security that they could feel when they are in our home?
A translation of my foul attitude can only say the following thing to my family: "I believe God is dead." Because if I believed that God were alive, I would believe that a.) He can see my sinful attitude (and take issue with it!) and b.) He can help me to conquer it.
If I wanted to build a safe place for my family, I would live and speak as if God lives (because He does whether or not I confess it.) And where is our security to be found? In Christ Alone. So I can promote the idea of security and live the promise that God will take care of His people by addressing my sin attitudes. When I address my sin attitudes, I will be more peaceful. When I am at peace, my family will be able to feel that. They will feel more secure and can enjoy the promises of God more thoroughly.
This is a big hurdle for me but I'm striving towards this goal. The world offers enough grief to my family members. The least I can do is counter that with some joy and peace through Christ who strengthens me.
2. The home should be a refreshment for those who are communicating the gospel. This takes me back to Spiritual Disciplines: Service wherein we discussed how the only way to show hospitality and service to others is by and through the worship of God. If I want my home to be a place of refreshment - where the gospel of Jesus can be lived out and shared with others - then I need to have my heart poised for worship. I need to be engaged in daily fellowship with God.
If I do not know Him, then I cannot share Him.
That's a pretty simple and straightforward thought, but it sure does take a whole lot of concerted thought and effort to actively build this environment in one's home.
This chapter presented some pretty big ideas for me to grapple with. Practicing and offering hospitality is not an easy business, is it?! It seems like awful hard work. It's after reading these chapters that I have to go back to the key verse around here:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen" 1 Peter 4:8-11Hospitality is something I am called to and therefore I need to work on these various aspects of my spiritual life so that I will be able to carry out the call to serve faithfully.
Oh yeah. And without grumbling too. Right....check that....