Hospitality: the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. (Source: Bing)
Mainstream media has turned hospitality into hosting mega dinner parties with linen napkins, air brushed homes, expensive five course meals, and clean children who don’t throw their broiled lobster tails brushed with garlic butter at each other.
No wonder no one wants to practice the dying art of hospitality! As a real life mom, inviting someone over means frantically cleaning up the dried ketchup that’s been on the floor for one (maybe two?) days, planning a meal that doesn’t put your family dinner budget over more than it already is because we’ve ordered pizza one too many times, and playing referee in between sentences with your guests.
And you know what? It’s AWESOME! Your dinner guests will be so grateful for the invitation into your home and to spend time with you that an untidy house and quick, cheap meal or snacks won’t matter. The Bible commands us to be hospitable. Not Martha-Stewart style, but Jesus-style.
Watch a recent episode of Messy Tired Love: Mom Talk, featuring Lisa from The Merry Momma, below. We dive into what is means to be hospitable, what the Bible says about it, challenges we face as moms, and practical ways to get it done.
The Bible is clear that we need to be hospitable. It’s a practical way to love others with Christ’s love.
When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
1 Peter 4:9
Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay
Note that “Cheerfully” is how this scripture begins. Not “out of obligation,” not “stressed-out,” and certainly not “with frustration.” Even when we start with good intentions, it can quickly go south if the right circumstances play out.
For example, several years ago my husband and I were throwing a big party for our friends. A holiday party that we throw every year. We always go big – decorations, themed-food, group games – the whole shabang. I was excited that we decided to host the party even though we had a four month old. The morning of the party, I remember looking at my to-do list and freaking out that it wasn’t going to all get done before people started showing up. I wanted everything to be perfect so that the party leave our friends being “wowed” by how amazing it was. I frantically started tackling the items and trying to complete them as quickly as I could. My husband was helping, but was not moving as quickly as I wanted him to. I don’t remember exactly what I said to him, but I know it was in an inpatient and unkind way. Long story short: It blew up into a huge fight, which ruined the day for both of us. My friends would have thought the party was awesome even if I was hanging decorations after they arrived. In fact, I’m sure they would have been more than happy to help! But my motivation and my heart wasn’t focused on my guests. I was focused on myself. Instead of enjoying the opportunity to invite others into my home, I turned it into a stressful, all-about-me-and-my-party-planning-reputation. Ugh. That is NOT Jesus-style hospitality.
Luke 10:38-42 New International Version (NIV)
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Momma, be hospitable and don’t let it ruin your day. Invite people over and then sit with them instead of washing the dishes. Instead of cooking a five-course gourmet meal, order pizza so you can actually sit with your guests. A year from now, your guests will remember that you had them over and offered good company and great conversation. They won’t remember the stain on your couch or the fact that they tripped over the shoes your child left in front of the door.
Make two or three goals to be hospitable this month. They don’t have to be huge, just enough to move you towards practicing hospitality. Perhaps you can Invite over good friends for dessert after your kids go to bed or plan and schedule a dinner with a new family at church. Pray about it, do it, and be intentional about having a cheerful heart throughout the process.
About Messy Tired Love: Mom Talk
Messy Tired Love: Mom Talk is an interview series featuring Christian moms that strive to put the gospel at the center of their lives and families. Watch other Messy Tired Love: Mom Talk episodes here.
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