Guest post from Alicia at Experiencing Each Moment.
I have been a Navy wife for 10 years, and in that time have moved out of state 6 times. As military moving to cities with no family, and usually no friends, we truly depend on those who show hospitality.
I love that Webster's defines hospitality:
1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.
2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
And better yet is the Biblical parallel for each:
1. Hebrews 13:2 "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."
2. 1 Peter 4:9 "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling."
We recently transferred from San Diego to Great Lakes, IL (Chicagoland), so I have a fresh take on what being the "new kid on the block" is like. We experienced many examples of hospitality:
- We had friends here who went out of their way to take pictures of our two potential homes and email them to us since we had no other way to know what they looked like before we had to decide on one!
- These same friends left a note on our front door when we moved in "welcoming" us!
- Our neighborhood was having a block party and even though we hadn't received keys to our home (and were still living in a local hotel) our neighbors invited us to this festive bonfire.
- These same neighbors chatted casually with me about which doctors I should pick AND which to avoid! Very critical!
- Some Campus Crusade missionaries brought bottled water and sodas to our house for us and our moving crew on a very hot day.
- They also made food for us that night since we hadn't unpacked our kitchen items!
- Friends and acquaintances along the way have donated winter items to us since they know our San Diego wardrobe lacks them and also told us about places to get great deals.
- Some aspects of hospitality were planned (cooking a meal in advance) and some were impromtu (doctor suggestions)
- Most were done to us as total strangers
- Many of these people did more than one thing
- We feel gratitude to this day for each one of these acts, even though they are all so different
- I can't wait for the day that some military friend calls me and says, "Alicia, we're moving to Great Lakes, and I have no idea what the housing looks like. Can you take a picture for me?" Yes, I can!!! I was given a selfless example by friends who went out of their way for me, and I will happily pay it forward!
- All the tips that my neighbors have given me on cheap(er) items and doctors, I've been able to pass along to neighbors "newer" than I am.
- When the missionaries offered to bring us food, it gave me a chance to invite them to dinner (without having to cook!) They accepted that invitation, and we had the privilege of learning how God led them into the ministry and what God was currently doing in the ministry! They host about 50 single sailors every other weekend (talk about hospitality), and after they so kindly gave to us, we have now had the opportunity to give back to them!
"Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth."
What ways do you exercise hospitality to military families or the "new kids on the block?"