Starting tomorrow, I’ll be leading a Bible/book study by a fellow blogger named Sarah Mae, called 31 Days to Clean: Have a Martha Home the Mary Way. I’m excited to do this book in a group study setting for the accountability that I’m going to need to get my house in order in 31 days, for the camaraderie that will come from being in a group of other people who desire more for their homes than what is obviously the current functionality now, and also just because I have a heart for seeing a house becoming a home.
I’m not a majorly clean person. I generally have issues with clutter…stemming from most likely having too much stuff. I went to town on Tid Bit’s room day before yesterday and it’s leaps and bounds better, but there are several other rooms in this house that need the same treatment. They’re about to get it.
As I’ve begun reading this book and studying throughout the Bible, I keep feeling led to passages on hospitality and the acts of being hospitable, and I’ve been really surprised at what I keep finding. I believe part of keeping our homes is making them available for use to serve others, and so it’s been neat to see how these things all tie together. I’ve always been taught and led to believe that hospitality is a gift, but as I’ve been reading and researching, I’ve realized that hospitality is actually a Biblical expectation of followers of Christ. In fact, in Biblical times, hospitality was a way of living…it was something you showed even to your enemies. At the very LEAST, you were expected to offer food and water to someone in need of it. In Psalm 23 verse 5 it says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” In ancient near Eastern culture, a host was expected to provide protection of their guests…and still provide hospitality to their enemies. WOW! That is SO interesting to me. So counter-culture to the way we live today.
1 Peter 4:9 says, “Be hospitable to one another without complaint,” and I believe that’s a statement that carries a different kind of weight that just being kind to others.
Romans 12:13 talks about “practicing hospitality” and outlines how it is a way to show brotherly love to others. I love that the word “practicing” is used with “hospitality” here….indicating that the act is something that is both necessary to do over and over and to make habitual, but also that it is something that will always be in a state of improving to gain proficiency. No matter how hospitable we may be, there are likely always ways we can be more hospitable. To me…the idea of practicing something that I’ve always thought to be a gift, makes it much more tangible and within reach to those who don’t actually posess the initial gift.
By definition hospitality is “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers; kindness in welcoming guests or strangers. Hospitality has more to do with the relationship between guest and host than it does the entertainment or amusement of a guest. And because of that emphasis on relationship, it played a role in the honor-oriented culture of the Bible.
And I’ve been thinking about these things, and I thought I’d throw it out there to ask you all. What in your mind makes someone seem “hospitable” to you? What do you admire about that person’s hospitality? And here’s the biggie….what’s keeping you from doing the same?