[bl]W[/bl]e call hospitality a gift. Some have it others don’t. A way of offering that some people are called to and others are not. Like teaching or preaching or healing.
Here’s the problem: We’ve equated hospitality with hosting.
The ability to have people in your home and serve them well is a gift. Some do this with ease, some do it because they have to, some because they feel called to. It’s an instinct for some, and for others it’s a learned way of living. And yet for others it’s awkward or exhausting or intrusive.
This is what I want you to hear today:
You do not have to be gifted in hosting in order to be faithful in hospitality.
When we understand hospitality as having a heart that welcomes, a spirit that invites, and a life that is interruptible – it transforms this way of living and loving into a mission rather than a gift. And it separates this mission from the Betty Crocker, apron wearing, table setting, sheet folding, home organizing responsibilities that come with sharing your home with others.
Receiving people into your home is only one expression of hospitality. There are countless ways to receive life. Multiple opportunities to be available. And entering into the journeys of others doesn’t require them entering your home.
So for those who struggle in making a home receptive to others, breath these next words and find freedom:
You don’t have to know how to cook to be hospitable. You don’t have to entertain with ease. You don’t have to have a well cleaned and organized home. You don’t even have to have a home!
Consider the One who walks before us in these ways of welcoming, inviting and being available. He had no home. Nothing to his name but greatness. Holiness. Worthiness.
This Jesus who never cooked for people, but offered his body as bread, his blood as wine. This Jesus who never invited people to his home, but entered the homes of others and blessed it with grace and healing and life. This Jesus who didn’t throw parties for his friends, but sat at the table of a tax collector, offered water to a prostitute, and broke bread with those he was teaching. This Jesus who welcomes all people to share in his life that he may point them to his Father.
This is hospitality. Not the well-dressed table. Not the linens that drape. Not the serving dishes that shine. Not the taste of the food. Not the well stocked kitchen. Not the comfortable bed.
It’s the love that is shown. The grace that is offered. The questions that are asked. The willingness to come. The availability to help. The posture of openness. The concern expressed in hurt. The truth spoken in trouble. The Word given for hope.
Hospitality is a posture of life that is open to others. Open to their journey intersecting with yours. Their story changing yours. Their problems becoming yours. Their pain paining you. It’s a willingness to embrace people where they are, pointing them to the bigger story they find themselves in.
This isn’t something we are gifted in. It’s a way of life we are called to because we claim to believe in Jesus and all that he is about. And this is what he is about. Life. Redeeming it, saving it, holding it, healing it, restoring it, valuing it – all for eternal purposes.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:8-10
My prayer for us all is that God reveals to us the ways he has gifted us in giving his grace. And if we are all called to hospitality, may he affirm in us how our gifts manifest in this calling. How does your gift of preaching welcome people and point them to the Father? How does your gift of healing interrupt your life to be available to others? How does your gift of hosting give people an environment to see and experience the love of God? How does your gift of service provide God’s grace to those in need?
May we notice and affirm these gifts in each other and feel confident to acknowledge them in ourselves.
Even though I encourage you to understand hospitality separate from your home and separate from the idea of hosting, I also want to express how much I believe in the home. Despite the fact that so many are broken, I believe the home ought to be a place where people grow. I believe it should empower people, restore people.
I use my home as part of my mission in hospitality. I am a mother of five who chooses to educate my children at home — home is where I am most of my time. It makes sense for this to be my environment where grace happens. My hope in these hospitality posts is to strike the needed balance of taking the emphasis of hospitality off the home, yet at the very same time I want to offer ideas on how to shape your home environment with purpose and intention.
On Tuesday I had 8 children instead of 5. 8 mouths to feed, instead of 5. And few groceries. So the kids and I whipped up a Manry favorite for lunch. Egg casserole with biscuits and gravy.
2 Cups of Flour
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
1/3 Cup shortening
1 Cup buttermilk
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut shortening into the flour mixture (I usually use my hands to blend the shortening in). The mixture should look crumbly. Stir in the buttermilk. The dough is very soft. Place dough onto a floured surface and roll it out 1/4 inch thick. With a biscuit cutter or round cup, cut out circles. Place them onto a greased cookie sheet or round cake pan.
Bake at 425 until the tops starts to get a little golden.
Serve biscuits with butter and jam (or honey!)
Or sausage gravy!
1/2 lb of breakfast sausage
1-2 cups of milk
My dad is the best gravy maker I know! And mine never turns out like his. There are more complicated and delicious ways of making gravy, but this is a quick way the kids and I do it. And we think it’s yummy! Forgive me for the vague recipe, but we don’t really measure for this…
Brown sausage in a skillet until the crumbles are good and brown and even a little crispy. Remove sausage crumbles and place them into a bowl. Sprinkle a little bit (1-2 tsp?) of flour into the greasy skillet. If there is not enough grease to make a paste with the flour add a tablespoon of butter. On medium high, bring the flour/grease paste to a bubble and add a generous amount of milk (1 cup?). whisk together until bubbly. Sprinkle salt, garlic pepper and a dash of red pepper. Keep whisking. The gravy will start to thicken. If it’s too thick, add more milk. Taste it, and if it tastes like paste, add more milk and seasonings. Return the sausage crumbles to the gravy and serve on top of the biscuits.