Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:13
I’ve blogged on hospitality before. I think it is important for so many reasons. Modern technology with its many benefits can have an isolating affect on people. They are communicating via tech, yet may lack real-life connections and relationships. We live in a time when it is critical for churches and individual Christians to be involved in personal outreach. We should excel at befriending people, forming relationships, and drawing in outsiders. An ideal way for this to happen is through opening our homes in hospitality. Yet, this does not seem to be happening…not often enough at least.
I loved this recent post I came across on Scruffy Hospitality. One reason that people fail to open their homes is that they confuse entertaining and hospitality. They are not one and the same. You can both entertain and be hospitable, but you can also entertain without being hospitable. Being hospitable is the key. My spouse and I rarely entertain and are not good at it. (Kudos to those who are!) Rather, we excel at welcoming people into our everyday life…showing scruffy hospitality. Here is an excerpt from the mentioned post:
Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy hospitality means you hunger more for good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, not what you don’t have. Scruffy hospitality means you’re more interested in quality conversation than the impression your home or lawn makes. If we only share meals with friends when we’re excellent, we aren’t truly sharing life together.
Don’t allow a to-do list disqualify you from an evening with people you’re called to love in friendship. Scheduling is hard enough in our world. If it’s eating with kind, welcoming people in a less than perfect house versus eating alone, what do you think someone would choose? We tell our guests ‘come as you are,’ perhaps we should tell ourselves ‘host as you are.’
Over the years, my spouse and I have had people tell us how comfortable they feel at our place precisely because of the scruffy hospitality. I don’t even own a set of nice dishes. We have one mismatched every-day set. I have no clue how to properly set a table either. Sorry Emily Post!
Again, there is nothing wrong with entertaining and having a beautifully set table and environment. But the point is: it is not necessary. Don’t confuse the 2 things. Hospitality is not about fancy table settings or fancy homes, but about practicing servanthood and creating an atmosphere where people feel welcomed and at ease. It is not about putting on a show, but about being yourself. And allowing other people to be themselves too. Won’t you consider opening your home more often?
Here is another interesting post on Practicing Biblical Hospitality which you may want to peruse.