On Tuesday we hosted our Bible Study. The Study is being held for 6 weeks. We have a big enough house and a kid friendly home so we offered to host. Every week an assignment is given to each member of the Study and then the next week when we reconvene we get to discuss how the assignments went. I like it. I'm taking something away each week and becoming purposeful in my day to day with the intention of completing whatever it was that I was prompted to do.
Here is the card I pulled this week:
When I read it, honestly I felt a little annoyed. I host things a lot. We usually have people over at least a couple times a week, sometimes more. Hosting get togethers with kids is not always simple. I could get into the nitty gritty details of why, but four kids? Enough said. As much as I can strive to make my house look like a Martha Stewart catalog and as if my children don't live here, that's not fair and it's not realistic.
After my initial reaction to what this card was indicating, I began to mentally count off things I could host. After a little while I started to realize that the types of things I was thinking of probably weren't what God had in mind though. Easy little parties with my friends wasn't necessarily the type of hospitality that I think God had intended when my hand selected that particular card.
I decided to write the definition of Hospitality and tape it to the window I look out of when I'm doing the dishes. Perhaps if I were to see the outlining of hospitality several times a day the specific way to practice it would leap out at me.
After praying and pursuing this assignment in earnest, anxious for a way to complete this task I've started to realize that Hospitality is more than just having my close knit friends over to my home multiple times a week, even every day for that matter. It's more than just having snacks and coffee ready for people when they arrive. Hospitality isn't always about opening my home up to others. It's actually a much more profound thing altogether.
Practicing hospitality is an all encompassing way of living. It's a way of living outside of yourself and administering more to the needs of others. It's a service, a way of loving others and making them feel cared for.
When I looked it up I found 78 verses in the Bible referencing hospitality. Hospitality is one of the benchmark standards on which early Christians were held. Providing food, drink, and shelter for strangers was not uncommon and, rather it was encouraged.
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." Matthew 25:35-40
So far I haven't found a "specific" way to practice hospitality this week. I have thought of many ways and with a lot of stumbling attempted several. I'm trying to keep it simple, because if it's a way of living it's going to take a lifetime to fully achieve.
"She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20