“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.” I Peter 4:9-10 (NIV)
Christmas 2014- feeding missionaries from three different countries
When Jase was growing up, he would often wake to strangers sleeping on their sofas and even on the floor in his bedroom. After we started dating, I began to see first-hand what a very different lifestyle he and his family were living than I was used to. They never locked their doors, and Miss Kay always cooked far more at mealtime than her family would eat – all because there was a very good chance that others would be there by the time the food was ready. Not only would these guests receive one of the best meals they had ever eaten, but they would also have a place to sleep. You could also bet that they would receive a Bible study from Phil before their head hit the pillow. This was a normal day in the life of my future husband.
Today, while all of us Robertson’s definitely lock our doors, we each practice that same hospitality that Phil and Kay have done all of their lives. Even this past weekend, Jase and I housed eleven college boys, part of a large choir who was here to sing at our church on Sunday morning. We fed them homemade chili, chocolate chip cookies and ice cream and breakfast early Sunday morning before they made their way to the church building. I’ve learned from Phil and Miss Kay that the best way to be hospitable is to not “fuss” over your company but to offer your home as their home for the time that they are there. Nothing is more awkward for guests than for them to feel like they have walked into a perfect home, a place where they have to sit on perfect furniture, scared to spill a drop of anything or transfer outside dirt onto a floor. I can promise you that no one felt that way in Mr. Phil and Miss Kay’s house. When Peter wrote the above passage, most people had nothing but dirt floors! Hospitality doesn’t come from perfect possessions but comes from a desire of the heart.
But Missy, I ‘ve worked hard for my home and all of my stuff. I don’t want someone else messing that up. What if someone steals something of mine?
Yep, theft is definitely a concern. And I can guarantee you, if you practice hospitality on a regular basis, it will definitely happen. My kids have had their toys stolen, and I even had a few bath towels taken out of my bathroom. But those same people also left knowing that Jesus came to this earth and died for their sorry sins and rose from the grave to give us all hope of eternal life with him. Maybe they felt bad about taking those items, and maybe they didn’t. But my family survived without those toys and towels.
Hospitality is not easy, especially if you are not in the habit of practicing it. It takes time, effort and money.
But Missy, my family doesn’t have enough money to feed a bunch of people, and my house isn’t nice enough to have guests.
I heard a saying many years ago that went like this: “If you won’t share a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when you’re poor, you won’t share a steak when you’re rich.” It’s not about the money. It’s about the heart.
People don’t care what your house looks like when they need a warm, safe place to stay and food for their empty stomachs. And I can promise you this – no one complained about the dirt on Miss Kay’s floors that was already there before they arrived.
When people leave our house, we have no idea what kind of affect we may have made on them. One day, I hope to see some of them in heaven that might not have been there without my family opening the doors to our home to them.
Open your heart. Open your home. Bless someone. Be blessed.
Have a wonderful week!