“God showcases His glory through us as we welcome one another.” Katie Deckert, Risen Motherhood
It is the time of year again that the days become shorter, the weather becomes colder, and homes are cozier. The leaves change into beautiful colors, warm dishes prepared for mealtimes, and fall clothes added to wardrobes. Gatherings of family and friends are looked forward to during this season and the holidays. Homes are decluttered, cleaned, polished, and ready to host a variety of loved ones. The autumntime is my favorite season because of all these things. I always look forward to visiting my parents during the fall. Even though they do not live far from me, my mom makes a point to make me feel welcomed and at home. There are always candles lit, the living areas perfectly decorated, and many times some warm food or beverage ready. My mom is the perfect example of a hostess, the picture of hospitality. I love learning from my mom about how to be a hostess and hospitable in return. Now that I am a grown woman, wife to my husband, have my own home, and my own family--I look forward to the seasons and opportunities of offering hospitality. And because I love Jesus and His commands, I want everything I do to reflect that. I also encourage you to practice hospitality that brings glory to the Lord. I encourage you to love well the people that God has placed in your life. I encourage you to be hospitable to yourself.
What is Biblical Hospitality?
But how do I do that, you may ask. When learning about hospitality, it is vital to understand what it means, specifically through the lens of the Bible. Hospitality's definition is "friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers" and "the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way." Friendly. Warm. Sounds cozy. But I want to understand what this means on a practical level as a Christian woman. Upon research, I found a fabulous article with the perfect definition of biblical hospitality.
The welcoming and fellowshipping with believers and non-believers out of truth and love for Jesus Christ so that they may see Christ more clearly. The key point of this definition is the emphasis on displaying Christ to those that we welcome into our homes.—John Ravan, Doctrine and Devotion
I just love that! The whole point of hospitality as believers and Christian women is to display Christ! Hospitality is a powerful way to demonstrate the love of Christ to others. Whether it be shown by inviting others into your home, building a relationship with someone, or performing a need for another, the opportunities are endless. Hospitality is for all people and ages. As children of God, commanded to love others and lead others to Christ, I believe we have all received a calling to live out biblical hospitality. Romans 15:7 says, “therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Let's look at some other scriptures about it as well. After all, God's word is the instruction manual for how we should live the lives He has given us, right? Romans 12: 9-13 says,
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and see to show hospitality.
Let love be genuine, love one another, contribute to the needs of the saints, show hospitality. I love that. I also want to look at what 1 Peter 4: 8-10 says,
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another; as good stewards of God's varied grace.
Love one another, show hospitality; without grumbling, serve one another with the gifts that God has given you. These are such specific instructions to live by and a powerful responsibility that God has given us! However, we should not only show hospitality to others; but also to ourselves and Christ.
Making Room in My Heart and Home for Jesus
Before we show hospitality to ourselves and others, we must first make sure that we allow Christ into our lives. Ask yourself, how is my relationship with God? Am I meeting with Him daily? Am I asking Him to come into my day and be with me in everything I do? Am I seeking to know Him more? If Christ is not the foundation of our lives, nothing else we do will matter. If the goal of hospitality is so that others may know Jesus through us, I sure hope that we know Him on a personal level because knowing Him is worth it! He is so gracious to His children! He is the One from whom all good things come!
“But God is a hospitable God, and He has lavished us with that hospitality. Out of the abundance we have received, we can pour out.”—Katie Deckert, Risen Motherhood
Continue to ask yourself as well, is my home one that glorifies God? Do I speak about Him and praise Him in front of my family? Do I pray to the Lord in front of my family and encourage them to seek Him as well? Is my home a place where worshipping Christ takes place? When we purpose to make our homes and hearts places where Christ may enter, we will be able to pour out His love so much more to others. Is my home a place where people can come and hear about Jesus and draw closer to Him? If someone came over to my house, would they be able to tell that it is a house that serves the Lord? However, that does not mean that the whole house needs to have all the cute signs and Christian decor displayed, but rather how will someone feel when they walk through my door? Will they be able to sense the presence of God in my house?
I recently became married to my sweet husband, the man that I prayed for so long. My husband and I wanted our wedding week to be one that glorified the Lord and praised Him for this blessing of entering a new life together. During the week of the wedding, one of my dearest childhood friends stayed with me. I will never forget something she said to me after the wedding. She said, "Amy, I felt God in your home; I just knew that He was there with us." I pray that this will be the theme of my home for the rest of my life; that each person will experience Jesus and know Him more when they come and leave my house.
An Open Door for Family and Friends
“When we believe in Christ, something changes in us: our eyes see the needs of others, our hearts begin to care as God cares, and our homes become places of ministry.”—Kelli B. Trujillo, Today’s Christian Woman
I love being able to have people over to my house and playing hostess. My mom has always loved entertaining and hosting, so I think that is where my interest started. I always want my home to be available to people for whatever their needs might be. Whether that is fellowship, a place of escape, eating dinner for the evening, or anything else. I want my house to be a place of peace for others, especially those who live with me. In this season of life, it is only my husband and I that live in the house. However, I want these things for him as well. I desire both of our homes to be a place of peace, where he can be cared for, rest, and experience the Lord working in his life. Even though we both live in the house and take care of it, I believe it is my responsibility to make sure that it operates effectively for my family. If I do not meet the needs of my family first; I am not a faithful steward of what God has given me.
“Having guests and visitors, if we do it right, isn’t an imposition because we aren’t meant to rearrange our lives for our guests—we’re meant to invite guests to enter into our sometimes-messy lives. It’s this forging of relationships that transforms entertaining into hospitality.”—Lauren F. Winner, Today’s Christian Woman
On the practical side of things, it is helpful to ask yourself if your home is a place where others want to come? Is your home tidy and inviting, or a complete disaster? Trust me; I have had those days when I do not want anyone to see my house. But if you can keep the entertaining areas tidier and leave the private rooms to clean for another time--it may make cleaning and preparation more manageable for having others over. Honestly, I love clean, organized, and decorated interiors--but I also love when my house looks like a complete disaster at the end of the day. It reminds me that life has happened inside the house. I love when the kitchen is piled full of dishes; it reminds me that my husband and I have been cooking together and testing out new recipes. I love it when my nieces and nephews come over to the house. My sweet niece tells me every time, though, "Auntie Ame, why do you not have any toys over here?" I should probably remedy that before the next time she comes over.
Regardless of what your house looks like, who comes over, or what is happening, there are so many opportunities to bring glory to the Lord. Whether they host celebrations, provide comfort, witness hurt, and suffering or experience prayers answered, each moment can bring glory to God! I pray that my heart and home will always be open for any way God wants to work. I pray the same for you!
“Hospitality isn’t a performance. It’s a Christian grace that involves the whole family.” Rosaria Butterfield, Desiring God
Being Hospitable to Myself
Women tend to be very busy. Not only are we working, running households, raising children, being wives, and doing ministry for the Lord, but we are also trying to take care of ourselves. Self-care often goes by the wayside, in my opinion, because we want to ensure that every other task becomes accomplished first. But if we are not seeking rest, spiritual restoration, and caring for our bodies, we will not be hospitable to anyone. We need to learn to practice hospitality with ourselves! This concept might look different to every woman, but here are some questions to consider. At the end of the day; have I given it my all? What are things that can wait until tomorrow? I am not implying that we should procrastinate, but if you are anything like me, my to-do list is long, and I can always find something else to do. By asking what can wait until tomorrow, it allows us to be done for the day and have permission to enter rest. It is also important that we be kind to ourselves. Being kind to myself is something that I am still learning to do, though. I am my worst critic; I am constantly evaluating myself and my level of performance. Sometimes I know that is not healthy; I need to learn to be kinder and speak truth and life over myself. I encourage you to do the same! After all, we are daughters of the most High, cherished, and beloved.
Am I taking care of my body the way that God desires? Am I seeking physical rest, nutrition, exercise, time with the Lord, and being out in nature? God has given us one body; we should cherish it and treat it with care! It is so easy for me to feel overwhelmed by tasks, responsibilities, and life, so I must learn to constantly turn those feelings over to the Lord and not let physical stress tear down my body. If hospitality to yourself is something that you struggle with, ask these questions. What are steps that I need to take to be kinder to myself? What are steps that I need to take to take care of myself better? What are steps that I need to take to allow restoration to happen? And ask these questions with the Lord! Only He can make change happen in our hearts and make us more loving, even to ourselves.
In closing, during these seasons of excitement and preparation, I hope that we will continue to cultivate hospitality with the Lord and others in our lives. I hope you have been challenged and encouraged by this letter to you. I hope that you can learn from my stories and know that you are not alone! As you learn more about increasing or being more intentional about hospitality, here are some final things to consider.
Have I made room for Jesus to come into my heart and rule in my life? If not, what is keeping me from doing so? What are idols that are holding me back from Jesus?
Ask God to continue to make you more loving, welcoming, and hospitable towards others. Pray for opportunities to show His love to others.
Ask God to continue to work in your own life. Ask that you will see Him working in your life. Ask Him for peace, rest, and kindness for yourself.