Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Gospel Living Community and Hospitality

This past Sunday our message was about being A Gospel Living Community based on 1 Peter 4:7-11. There was much to learn and be encouraged by in this message but one point stuck out to me. One of Slava's points was that "True love expresses itself through extending hospitality to one another." He reminded us that it is not a nice idea but a Christian duty......not just based on being friendly. He said that the purpose of hospitality is to create an atmosphere of biblical fellowship. I felt the Lord begin to rearrange my thinking about having people in my home.

We have recently moved into a place that is perfect for hospitality and hosting. I am grateful. I must admit having little space and resources was a bit of a deterrent. It was also a bit of an excuse. I always struggled with feeling like I had little to offer in the area of nicely laid out food and drink. I was told so many times that it didn't matter but it mattered to me. I think having a pleasing and clean environment is glorifying to God but not if it drives me to be MOM-zilla. I could get so hung up on hospitality being about a clean house, a great meal, well behaved children that I lost sight of WHY we were having people over anyway. Did I invite people over to impress them?......why do we have people in our homes if it isn't to just be friendly?

I felt my eyes were opened. My role in hospitality is to open my home and my heart to real genuine fellowship. To create an environment where people are comfortable not just on the nice clean couch that I vacuumed and febreez-ed (so it doesn't stink) but comfortable in their own skin in my house. A comfort that sets the stage for honesty and trust. A place people can feel themselves with no need to perform or measure up. A place where I and my family are transparent and genuine in our interest in their lives and struggles. I want my home to be a place of peace for my family and for those who come through it's doors.

Now I have some work to do before God with the help of the Holy Spirit.... to see what changes we need to make. It's not like I didn't want these things prior....I just was not purposeful about it.


Melanie said...

I'll have to go and listen to that message! To encourage you, you were the first family to invite us over for lunch when we first started attending CW and you were one of the first women to approach me at church; we were tremendously blessed by your hospitality and the care you took to accomodate Luke's allergies.
One thing I do in the summer especially is have potlucks. I'll buy a pack of chicken thighs from Costco and mabey make one salad and get everyone else to bring a salad or side - it makes for lots of food that way with little cost and preparation on my part. Most people I have found are MORE than happy to bring something to contribute to a meal. Another thing we have done with geat success is have theme parties where everyone brings an appy that goes with the theme (ie mexican)- it is a fun way to explore different types of ethnic foods.

Anonymous said...

I struggle with having folks over to our house, but I want to do it more. And more than just for birthday parties.

Great ideas, Melanie. Those things sound like something I could do.

Stacy said...

I like that. Especially this part: "To create an environment where people are comfortable in their own skin in my house, where people can feel themselves with no need to perform or measure up. A place where I and my family are transparent and genuine in our interest in their lives and struggles." A resounding "YES!" from me at my computer!


Mary said...

What a great job relaying your thoughts; very well written. I also was affected by those same portions of the sermon.

Cara said...

A friend of mine has a saying that the point of hospitality is to "bless, not impress!" That thought has been so helpful to me as we've gone through ups and downs in extending hospitality to others. It's a good, quick, heart-check tool too. When I'm laboring over something, trying to prepare for guests, I can pause and ask myself, "Okay, am I doing this to bless or to impress?"

Thanks for sharing this, Sandi! And thanks for the posts you left on my blog recently--I am so glad I finally know what your blog address is so I can visit and read up on your life and thoughts.