On Saturday I got to “preach” my message. I didn’t grow up with lady-preachers, although Mom would’ve qualified more times than we wanted to admit. At any rate, I got asked to do a workshop on a favorite topic, so I did. That’s one thing I’ve learned at 65. If someone asks, and the way is clear, I say, “Yes.” It’s only later I remember how much work and effort and sometimes, terror, goes into it. Oh, well. Mom – that same lady-preacher – taught us to do what we say and say what we do. There could be worse lady-preacher-messages.
So Saturday, I preached my message. Here it is:
We do hospitality–not to show off our hosting skills, not to make others love us better, not to be approved by God because He expects us to “do hospitality (without grumbling!”) We open our homes and fill our tables so that others find out how much God loves them. That’s it.
For some. For many, it’s easier said than done. We brought up seventeen reasons why we don’t. If we’d had more time and more coffee, we could’ve come up with twenty more.
But most of the reasons have this in common: we don’t do hospitality because we forget to forget about ourselves. Pride keeps us from inviting. Pride keeps our door closed and our table set for two or four and no more. (“I don’t have more chairs!” you cry, and forget that God owns the chairs on a thousands hills.)
We do hospitality with joy, confidence and ease when we forget about ourselves.
As Fenelon wrote:
Pride is the deepest sin because it’s hardest to excavate, deeply hidden in the crevices of self-protection and self-addiction. Pride is the most prevalent of sins because it easily spreads through the veins of self-importance and I’m-only-doing-this-for-your-good. My pride rises easily to the surface, the more I hide in God. He’s a gentle excavator. He’s knows I’m better off when I don’t make myself the center of my world.
To forget yourself does not mean to forget to thank God for His gifts. Nor does it mean that you never think of anything that has to do with you. It means that you do not make yourself the center of your world. When you forget yourself, you no longer deliberately seek everything for yourself.
Fenelon The Seeking Heart
I more I hide with Christ in God, the easier it is to do hospitality. To forget myself, to no longer deliberately seek everything for myself.
For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 NLT